Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the first NBA player not to kneel or wear “Black Lives Matter” attire during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice, a move that should be applauded, not ridiculed.
After every NBA player, coach, and referee took a knee during the National Anthem while wearing “Black Lives Matter” across their chest for the first couple days of the season resuming to protest racial injustice, Jonathan Isaac stayed true to his values and stood for the Anthem.
Given the current nature of America with “cancel culture” and media backlash, it is even more important now to stand up for one’s values—even if it has to be done alone. It is of utmost importance that people fight for what they believe in—even if it’s not the most popular position.
NBA analyst, Jalen Rose, commented on Isaac’s stance by saying that he would be a hypocrite if he supported Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel for the Anthem, but not Isaac’s decision to stand.
Isaac, a black man, was not protesting the notion that Black Lives Matter, but rather, believing that the protests of his peers do not equate to supporting black lives.
“I believe that Black Lives Matter,” Isaac said in an interview with Bleacher Report. “A lot went into my decision, and, part of it is, I thought that kneeling or wearing the Black Lives Matter T-shirt doesn’t go hand-in-hand with supporting Black lives.”
Isaac is a Christian who believes that, if God could see past all of the sin of humanity to send his son to die for it, that people here today should be able to get past all that is wicked.
“I think that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that there is grace for us, and that Jesus came and died for our sins and that if we all come to an understanding of that and that God wants to have a relationship with us, that we can get past all of the things in our world that are messed up, jacked up.”
Although Isaac was the brave one that initially stood alone, others followed in standing for the anthem. NBA referee Brent Barnaky, San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich and assistant coach Becky Hammon, as well as Miami Heat center Myers Leonard all stood for the Anthem over the course of the first weekend of the resumed NBA season.
“I am a compassionate human being and I truly love all people,” Leonard explained. “I cannot fully comprehend how our world, literally and figuratively, has turned into black and white. There’s a line in the sand, so to speak: ‘If you’re not kneeling, you’re not with us.’ And that is not true.”
It is an unfortunate state of this country that each member of the NBA community had to be questioned over their decision to not kneel for the National Anthem. What is even worse is the lack of sympathy for Isaac for suffering an injury a few days after his open stance. Many NBA fans believed his torn ACL was karma for his decision to stand for the Anthem and not wear a “Black Lives Matter” shirt.
With Isaac’s bravery resulting in others following in his footsteps, it has been shown that he is not alone in his desire to stand for the Anthem and that they just needed someone to lead the patriotic surge. His decision to stick with his values and not with the crowd might just be what both the NBA and the country need to get back to coming together instead of further dividing.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.