The NBA is once again back in the spotlight, this time over critical player comments about Nike: Red Banyan CEO and Founder Evan Nierman recently discussed the brewing controversy with national correspondent Leland Vittert in a lively interview on NewsNation’s “On Balance” program.

The latest brouhaha focuses on an NBA player who made headlines after slamming Nike for doing business with China despite evidence of human rights abuses. Boston Celtics’ Center, Enes Kanter, accused Nike of hypocrisy for continuing its relationship with China in the face of human rights abuses. 

Evan said the comments come as no surprise and could be viewed “as a precursor to what we can see from the athletes in the Olympics as well.”

The bold commentary shows “When you have players with a huge soapbox and a big audience and they can take their message directly to the public they can say whatever they want. It can put individual teams, in this case, it could put a country, into the spotlight talking about this about things which they’d rather not be talking about,” Evan noted.

He told Vittert that Kanter has every right to call out China for its abuses but said he believes Kanter is distracting from the issue by dragging Nike and other NBA  players like LeBron James and Michael Jordan into the discussion.

See the full interview below: