The NBA has gotten it right when it comes to bringing light to social justice issues during its restart. BUT unfortunately, there is always that ONE person who doesn’t seem to get it, and that person is Jonathan Isaac.
Viewers noticed during the national anthem before yesterday’s Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets matchup noticed the Magics’ Jonathan Isaac wasn’t kneeling or rocking a Black Lives Matter shirt. Many were quite surprised to see Isaac, who is Black, not participate in what, for the most part, has been a universal decision to kneel during the protest before the games during the NBA restarts opening week. Apparently, Isaac’s decision not to participate alongside his teammates and NBA brethren should come as no surprise being that its on par with his religious beliefs.
Following the game, Bleacher Reports’ Taylor Rooks asked Isaac why he didn’t kneel and he offered a word salad of an explanation that would make Donald Trump proud. He tried his best to explain why he feels Black Lives Matter doesn’t correspond with his belief in God and stating:
“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. 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.”
While Twitter clowned him for his explanation, fellow NBA player and COVID-19 conspiracy theory pusher, Michael Porter Jr. seemingly agreed with Isaac’s confusing statement with a retweet.
Isacc wasn’t alone in his decision not to kneel. San Antonio Spurs head coach, Gregg Popovich, and assistant coach Becky Hammon decided to stand during the National Anthem, but unlike Issac, they wore the Black Lives Matter warm-up shirts handed out by the league. When asked about his decision not to kneel, Popovich said, “I prefer to keep that to myself,” and added, “everybody has to make a personal decision. The league has been great about that. Everybody has the freedom to react any way that they want. For whatever reasons that I have, I reacted the way I wanted to.”
Pop’s star guard, DeMar DeRozan, came to the defense of his coaches saying people shouldn’t vilify” them.
“With Pop and Becky standing, I have no thoughts [contrary to] belief in them that is all out of genuine, out of a positive side of their heart. Same way we kneel. Don’t take away nothing from those guys.”
“You know Pop speaks out. When it comes to Becky, she’s been [on the] front line, fighting for equality since I’ve been a fan of hers playing in the WNBA. So everybody has their own right of making a statement, and you can’t vilify nobody for not doing what the other group is doing. I’m all for it.”
Despite Isaac not kneeling, the NBA has been a shining example when it comes to allowing their players to express themselves when it comes to social justice matters. We don’t expect that to change no time soon.
Photo: Orlando Sentinel / Getty