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Enes Kanter clarifies ‘fight’ remarks after warning from Knicks

Enes Kanter on Tuesday sought to clarify his recent remarks about encouraging teammates to “fight” opponents after a warning from New York Knicks management.

“The front office told me I cannot say stuff like that,” Kanter said after practice. “It’s a learning process. This is my second language. When I say fight it means compete, play hard, compete. You get a tech; you get a tech. They told me I cannot say stuff like that. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry NBA, my fault.”

Kanter, who has missed the past three games due to back spasms, including Monday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, apparently informed an unidentified Knicks teammate after the game that he would pay any fines levied for fighting an opponent.

“I’m not going to tell who, but I told somebody, ‘Hey man, go out there and fight with somebody. It will get the energy up,’” Kanter said after Monday’s loss to Portland. “No, I’m serious. (I said), ‘If you go out there and just hit somebody or just fight with somebody, get a technical foul, I will pay for the fine, I don’t care. Just go out there and do your thing.’

“Because we need that energy, we need that fight. It doesn’t matter if we’re down by 25, a fight, get a technical foul, the crowd is in it, and they’re gonna get nervous … I told two guys just go fight. It was good.”

It’s worth noting that Kanter reportedly made his clarifying remarks on Tuesday with a “mischievous smile,” lending to the belief the Knicks center presumably understands quite well the distinction between playing hard and getting a technical foul, not to mention fighting.

Kanter, along with his arguably dubious clarification, also declared himself “probable” for Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat.