Magical attacker Jonathan Isaac said his decision not to kneel down with his teammates for Friday’s national anthem or wear a Black Lives Matter shirt came from his critical view of the gesture as seeking some form of change.
NBA competitors use kneeling folk songs as a way to protest racist injustice in the U.S.
Isaac, who became the first NBA player to not protest during the national anthem after the league restart this week, said he notified his dressing room of choosing the team’s 128-118 victory over the nets.
He is an ordained minister who says that he believes that his life is gospel-backed and that religion is the way to “figure out skin color.”
“I believe black lives matter,” said Isaac. “Kneeling while wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt doesn’t go hand in hand with supporting a black life.”
“I don’t think kneeling or wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt goes hand in hand with supporting black lives,” says Jonathan Isaac.
Isaac talked about his choice not to take a knee during the national anthem and what it felt like to play meaningful basketball there. pic.twitter.com/Lrnv5ZJymI
– FOX Sports Magic (@FOXSportsMagic) July 31, 2020
MORE: Charles Barkley declares his support for those who don’t kneel
Isaac likely suffered an injury at the end of the season in January, when he hyperextended his knee during a quick break. Before going down, he had the most complete year of his career.
Due to the four-month delay in action this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaac managed to recover in time to make up for the Magic weeks for the last weeks of the campaign. He came off the bench on Friday and poured 16 points in 16 minutes.
His relationship with his team doesn’t seem to be strained by his decision to face the national anthem, at least according to coach Steve Clifford and guard Evan Fournier.
Magic coach Steve Clifford himself said that the players and the franchise support Jonathan Isaac’s decision to stand during the national anthem and not kneel. Isaac also didn’t wear the BLM t-shirt.
– Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) July 31, 2020
“That’s his choice and he doesn’t have to explain it,” Fournier added.