Ahead of the Orlando Magic-Brooklyn Nets game on Friday, Magic forward Jonathan Isaac stood out among the rest by being the lone player to stand while the national anthem played. Isaac was also the only player to not wear the Black Lives Matter shirt adorned by others during pregame.
“Absolutely I believe that Black lives matter,” Isaac said after the game. “A lot went into my decision…kneeling or wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt don’t go hand in hand in supporting Black lives. I do believe that Black lives matter, I just felt like it was a decision I had to make, and I didn’t feel like putting that shirt on and kneeling went hand in hand with supporting Black lives.”
Isaac is, so far, the only player at the NBA's restart in Orlando to not kneel for the anthem or wear the Black Lives Matter shirt. He explained his reasoning in response to a question from Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks:
“I don’t think that kneeling or putting on a T-shirt for me, personally, is the answer. For me, Black lives are supported through the gospel, all lives are supported through the gospel," Isaac said. "We all fall short of God’s glory, and at the end of the day, whoever will humble themselves and seek God and repent their sins, then we could see our mistakes and people’s mistakes and people’s evil in a different light, and that it would help bring us closer together and get past skin color, get past anything that’s on the surface that doesn’t really deal with the hearts of men and women.”
The Magic released a statement supporting their players' right to protest following the national anthem. Magic coach Steve Clifford said he and the rest of the team's players supported Isaac's decision, per ESPN's Marc J. Spears.
Isaac finished the game with 16 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes as the Magic won, 128-118.