Ex-NBA star Jonas Jerebko has been cut from Sweden’s national basketball squad; the federation said Thursday, a day after joining CSKA Moscow, despite international condemnation of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
“A player on the national team represents the Swedish Basketball Federation,” the body said in a statement announcing his exclusion.
Jerebko, 35, is the only Swede to have played in the NBA, where he spent ten seasons with the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and Golden State Warriors between 2009 and 2019.
The federation said it had contacted Jerebko to inform him that his decision to play in Russia was “against its values and unequivocal stance toward Russia.”
“After this dialogue, we must, unfortunately, acknowledge that Jonas Jerebko can’t represent the national team.”
Jerebko last played for Sweden in a World Cup qualifier against Croatia at the end of February, during which the federation and players showed their support for Ukraine, the federation recalled.
Before signing for CSKA, Jerebko was without a club after finishing his contract with Khimki Moscow in 2021.
CSKA Moscow has been excluded from the Euroleague because of Russia’s invasion but is not on any boycott list. There is no legal objection to a Swedish citizen working in Russia.
The decision of the Swedish basketball federation poses several uncomfortable points.
First of all, Jerebko makes a living playing basketball. If he has no team and doesn’t sign anywhere because of the political beliefs of the Swedish basketball federation, who will then compensate him for the loss of income?
The second question is if the Swedish Basketball Federation would have acted the same when the US invaded Iraq, NATO bombed Serbia or any other armed conflict anywhere in the world?
The problem with political correctness and cancel culture is that it is not consistent but highly dependent on political views. In that case, the effect is censorship, double standards, hypocrisy, and prevention of freedom of mind and speech.