Magic's Jonathan Isaac Explains Not Kneeling for Anthem or Wearing BLM Shirt

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2020

Orlando Magic's Jonathan Isaac (1) stands as others kneel before the start of an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic Friday, July 31, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Forward Jonathan Isaac was the only Orlando Magic player to neither kneel during the national anthem nor wear a Black Lives Matter shirt prior to Orlando's game against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

According to Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks, Isaac said after the game that while he believes Black Lives Matter, "kneeling or wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt don't go hand-in-hand with supporting Black lives."

gary washburn @GwashburnGlobe

Jonathan Isaac explains his decision not to kneel for the anthem or wear a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt. “I don’t think kneeling and Black Lives Matter goes hand in hand. It’s about the gospel.” #BLM #NBABubble https://t.co/uBPWxtObx6

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Isaac says he doesn’t condone racism on blacks by not wearing BLM T-shirt. “I believe Jesus is the answer. I didn’t think wearing a message on the jersey was the answer,” Isaac said. Added he prayed during the anthem “and there wasn’t a stake in the anthem or the flag.”

Isaac added that while he doesn't view kneeling or wearing the shirt as the answer, "Black lives are supported through the gospel. All lives are supported through the gospel."

Isaac confirmed that he told his teammates about his decision before the game, per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

As seen in the following photo, all other Magic players, coaches and staff members knelt during the anthem:

Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA

I’m very curious about — and will be patient for — Jonathan Isaac’s explanation here. Standing for the anthem is one thing... But seeming to be intentional about *not* wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.... I dunno, man... https://t.co/CFBJ98tOKG

Per ESPN's Marc J. Spears, Magic head coach Steve Clifford noted "himself, the players and the franchise support Jonathan Isaac's decision to stand during the anthem and not kneel."

Magic guard Evan Fournier said, "That's his choice and he doesn't need to [explain]," according to Spears.

On Thursday, all players in the Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers games knelt during the anthem.

The NBA has offered its support to players in providing them with a platform for social issues. The NBA has also placed a Black Lives Matter decal on its courts in Orlando during the NBA restart and has also allowed players to wear social justice phrases on the back of their jerseys in lieu of their names.

Isaac registered 16 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench for the Magic in their 128-118 win over the Nets.

With the victory, the Magic improved to 31-35 and moved ahead of Brooklyn for seventh place in the Eastern Conference by a half-game.