Oregon Sen. Wyden asks Canada to let Kanter play, should Portland face Toronto in Finals

Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (00) dunks in front of Oklahoma City Thunder in the second half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Friday, April 19, 2019, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Blazers haven’t played Game 1 of the Western Conference finals yet, but an Oregon senator is already reaching out to Canada about a possible problem scenario where Portland plays Toronto in the finals.

Enes Kanter, a Turkish star whom Turkey wants arrested for his criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has become an important part of the Trail Blazers.

They may have to leave him behind if they head to Canada. The Turkish government has revoked his passport. They are also demanding a "red notice" be issued, which threatens Kanter's freedom if he is outside of the United States.

Just a few months ago, the team went to Canada without him.

Senator Ron Wyden has sent a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister asking to ensure Kanter's safety should the Blazers face the Raptors again in the post-season.

The letter said in part, “I urge your government to ensure the same with respect to Mr. Kanter’s ability to enter Canada, play in Canada and then return safely and expeditiously to the United States. I also urge you to state publicly that your government will ignore any red notice against Mr. Kanter.”

For Kanter, the situation is personal. Not even his family in Turkey will be able to watch any of his games.

Turkish television says they will not air the Western Conference finals, nor will they broadcast the finals should the Blazers move on.

“Just be proud of your son because your son is standing up tall for human rights, democracy and freedom,” Kanter recently said in a video posted on Twitter. “I know one of your dreams was to come to one of my games, but you are not even allowed to leave the country, but I know it’s going to happen one day.”

At this point we haven't heard a response from the Canadian government on whether or not they would protect Kanter.

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