Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand for the National Anthem as the league resumed play after a 20-week hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last night, every NBA player who restarted the league’s 2020 season kneeled during the National Anthem while wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts…all except one. The television broadcast showed Isaac, who is black, standing as players and coaches from both teams, as well as referees, took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. The 22-year-old forward was also the only player seen not wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt. Isaac can be seen wearing his Magic game jersey instead.
He explained his position on Friday ahead of the game versus the Brooklyn Nets, saying that he doesn’t think “putting that shirt on and kneeling went hand-in-hand with supporting Black lives,” according to CNN.
Players, coaches and refs all locked arms and knelt during the national anthem before the Magic-Nets game pic.twitter.com/W0KthTU99O
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 31, 2020
“For me Black lives are supported through the gospel. All lives are supported through the gospel,” Isaac said. “We all have things that we do wrong and sometimes it gets to a place that we’re pointing fingers at who’s wrong is worst. Or who’s wrong is seen, so I feel like the Bible tells us that we all fall short of God’s glory. That will help bring us closer together and get past skin color. And get past anything that’s on the surface and doesn’t really get into the hearts or men and women.”
The owners of the Magic, the DeVos family, released a statement in support of the players pre-game protest on Friday. The statement did not allude to Isaac’s decision to stand.
“The DeVos Family and the Orlando Magic organization fully supports Magic players who have chosen to leverage their professional platform to send a peaceful and powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color,” the statement said.
“We’re confident the entire Magic family has immense respect for these entities and individuals,” the statement said. “This is about coming together to end racism once and for all. We are committed to walking alongside our players — today and in the many days ahead — in the pursuit of lasting and impactful change.”
"I'm black. I grew up black. I have a black little brother that lives in America. I'm not for racism." pic.twitter.com/rsyqXh7Zws
— Daren Stoltzfus (@DarenStoltzfus) July 31, 2020
Social media observers questioned why he chose to abstain from the league-wide protest.
“I’m very curious about — and will be patient for — Jonathan Isaac’s explanation here,” tweeted basketball writer Dane Moore. “Standing for the anthem is one thing… But seeming to be intentional about *not* wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt…. I dunno, man…”
“I believe for myself my life has been supported through the gospel, image of God, all God’s glory we all do things we should do, we hate those we shouldn’t,” Jonathan Isaac said in a zoom conference after the game.
Isaac took to Twitter this morning tweeting, “‘This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.’ I Timothy 1:15 NKJV.”
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
I Timothy 1:15 NKJV
— Jonathan Isaac (@JJudahIsaac) August 1, 2020