The Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac chose to remain standing as the rest of the Magic and Nets players and coaches took a knee and locked arms during the national anthem.
Magic’s Jonathan Isaac chooses to remain standing as the rest of the Magic and Nets players and coaches take a knee and lock arms during the national anthem.
— theScore (@theScore) July 31, 2020
The Magic’s Jonathan Isaac explained why he didn’t kneel or wear a BLM shirt:
“Kneeling or wearing a Black Lives matter t-shirt didn’t go hand in hand with supporting Black Lives….I believe that my life has been supported through the Gospel, everyone is made in the image of God”
Magic' Jonathan Isaac on why he didn't kneel or wear a BLM shirt "Kneeling or wearing a Black Lives matter t-shirt didn't go hand in hand with supporting Black Lives….I believe that my life has been supported through the Gospel, everyone is made in the image of God" pic.twitter.com/o8JoqvApch
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) July 31, 2020
CNN reports the Orlando Magic’s 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.
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.
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…”
“Drag me I don’t care..” said another Twitter user. “What Jonathan Isaac did was his right to do. I lost no respect for him and still respect him for who he is. If a player stands or kneels, I could care less.”
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.
It added, “We are proud of the positive impact our players have made and join with them in the belief that sports can bring people together — bridging divides and promoting inclusion, equality, diversity and unity. We know this is not about the military, the men and women who serve honorably to keep our communities safe for all, or those who have paid the ultimate price to provide freedom, including freedom of expression.”
“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.”
The Magic are taking on the Brooklyn Nets in the league’s third game of the resumed season in Orlando.