A single player in the NBA has stood alone—literally—during America’s national anthem since games resumed this week after a 20-week break due to COVID-19.
During a press conference on Friday, that player, Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic, explained why.
What are the details?
After noting that he did not kneel during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” or wear a Black Lives Matter shirt along with all the other players, a reporter asked Isaac (who is black), if he believes black lives matter.
“Absolutely,” Isaac replied. “I believe that black lives matter. A lot went into my decision and part of it is, first off, it’s my thought that kneeling or wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt don’t go hand-in-hand with supporting black lives.”
“I think when you look around, racism isn’t the only thing that plagues our society. That plagues our nation, that plagues our world,” he continued. “I feel like coming together on that message that we want to get past not only racism but everything that plagues us in society I feel like the answer to it is the Gospel.”
CNN, Isaac reiterated, “For me Black lives are supported through the Gospel. All lives are support through the Gospel. 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 of men and women.”
Isaac also waded into the current political tone of the U.S., saying, “I feel like a lot of people have a stake in it with the flag, a lot of people have a stake in it for the president, I think a lot of people have a stake in it with hating the flag or not hating it or hating the president or whatever.”
He added, “I’m black…I’m not for racism and I don’t think that me not kneeling before the game and wearing a t-shirt makes me mean that at all.”
Jonathan Isaac explains decision to stand during national anthem | NBA on ESPN
In a statement on Friday, the owners of the Orlando Magic expressed full support of their players kneeling during the anthem “to send a powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color.”
The statement did not mention Isaac’s lone stance for the stars and stripes, but
BleacherReport reported that according to ESPN, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said, “himself, the players and the franchise support Jonathan Isaac’s decision to stand during the anthem and not kneel.”
The coach also passed along that Magic guard Evan Fournier said of Isaac’s move, “That’s his choice and he doesn’t need to [explain].”