Basketball and international politics had one of its most notable interactions recently when the Boston Celtics’ Enes Kanter became an outspoken critic of the Turkish government. Turkey put out a warrant for his arrest, at one point he was unable to be in contact with his family and Ankara accused Kanter of being a terrorist sympathizer.
Another noteworthy basketball player now has drawn ire from her home country’s government.
Yelena Leuchanka, per reports, attempted to leave Belarus via Minsk airport to receive medical treatment. She was then detained and arrested.
Reports indicate that she had received a 15-day prison sentence after she took part in protests in opposition to its country’s “president” who was re-elected to a sixth term in office amid allegations of rigging ballots.
She is also an activist – part of the Free Association of Belarusian Athletes.
— Sandrine Gruda EM (@Sandrine_Gruda) September 30, 2020
My WNBA/Belarus National Team teammate Yelena Leuchanka has been ARRESTED! @yelenaleu actively protests against the Lukashenka’s dictatorship,police violence & deception of the Belarusian authorities. #freeleuchanka pic.twitter.com/sCxaQgFz6i
— Lindsey Harding (@Lindsey_Harding) October 1, 2020
— Wnba France 🇫🇷 (@WnbaFrance) October 1, 2020
We unequivocally stand with Yelena, The Free Union of Athletes and the citizens of Belarus. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/LXi0B8fnGh
— SIG Sports (@SIGSports) September 30, 2020
This is AWFUL!! @yelenaleu didn’t do anything wrong but use her voice against the things that are going on in her country of Belarus!!! #FreeYelena@EURightsAgency @FIBA @EurobasketNews @EuroLeagueWomen
PLEASE RT!!! 🙏🏽 https://t.co/BpdQzpYA8B
— Ticha Penicheiro (@TichaPenicheiro) September 30, 2020
— Emma Meesseman (@EmmaMeesseman) October 1, 2020
— Kim Mestdagh (@MestdaghKim) September 30, 2020
Let’s get her OUT!!!!!! https://t.co/f6SoqAIeIo
— Ebony Hoffman (@ebonyhoffman16) September 30, 2020
Wow! Leuchanka is a WNBA alum. Courageous. Thanks for making us aware, Ebony. https://t.co/aLGin5UykY
— Carol Ross (@coachcarolross) September 30, 2020
Please RT and speak out for this. I honestly don’t know how much it will help but awareness is the start of justice and hopefully together we can help #FreeLeuchanka
This is so much bigger than a game 🏀
I stand with Yelena Leuchanka ✊🏼
— ruth hamblin (@ruthhamblin) October 1, 2020