Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac refused to take a knee with his teammates during the national anthem on Friday as the NBA season resumed from a four-month-long break due to coronavirus.
Every player, apart from the 22-year-old, wore a “Black Lives Matter” shirt and kneeled as the American anthem was played before the game against the Brooklyn Nets. Isaac instead opted to wear his jersey and warmup track pants.
Jonathan Isaac is the first player during the restart to stand for the National Anthem.— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) July 31, 2020
All the remaining coaches, players, and members of both teams took a knee. pic.twitter.com/i2yy8qCPn3
Following the game, Isaac explained his decision, saying although he believes black lives matter, all answers are found in the Bible.
“I believe that Black Lives Matter. Kneeling while wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt doesn’t go hand-in-hand with supporting black lives,” he said.
“I support black lives but not that way. My life has been supported by Jesus Christ. The gospel gives us force.
“I knew it was going to be a tough decision, one that people would have questioned. I’ve leaned on God’s word and his plan for me.
“People have opinions, but I took my decision. We’re protesting and doing things to get something done. But we need to see all the things and all the answers are in the word of Jesus.”
In March, Isaac posted to Instagram saying he had now become an ordained minister:
“Ya boy is an ordained minister! Never ever would I have thought… but I’m here lol. If you know me, you know this not a game to me,” he said.
“From 2 and half years ago to today (yes lol I haven’t always been a church boy) I haven’t lost a thing in pursuing Jesus, as cheesy as in today’s day that sounds.. I’ve only gained! Gained myself. My identity my purpose and so much more.
“I tell people ‘if I could see the Jonathan that was on the other side of me pursuing Jesus I wouldn’t have waited so long lol.’ That’s why I think this is all so dope.. cause only I truly know the Jonathan of old! I rest my case. Thank you Jesus for your open arms!”