In the week since the NBA resumed games, only one player has stood for the national anthem and refused to kneel. Now, that player is speaking out to reveal exactly why he decided to stand.
During a press conference on Friday, Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic was confronted by a reporter for not kneeling during “The Star Spangled Banner.” The reporter then asked Isaac if he believes black lives matter, despite the fact that the player is black.
“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 added. “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.”
Not stopping there, CNN reported that Isaac went on to reiterate:
“For me Black lives are supported through the Gospel. All lives are supported through the Gospel. We all have things that we do wrong and sometimes it gets to a place that we’re pointing fingers at whose wrong is worst. Or whose 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.”
He then dove into politics in the United States, 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.”
“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,” Isaac concluded.
The Orlando Magic made no mention of Isaac standing, instead releasing a statement of support for the players who kneeled 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.”
Magic head coach Steve Clifford, however, said that “himself, the players and the franchise support Jonathan Isaac’s decision to stand during the anthem and not kneel,” according to BleacherReport.
He added that Magic guard Evan Fournier said of Isaac’s move, “That’s his choice and he doesn’t need to [explain].”