'I do believe that Black lives matter': Jonathan Isaac explains anthem stance

Tanya Simon
August 1, 2020

Jonathan Isaac, the only player who didn't kneel during the pregame national anthem, contributed 16 points off the bench, while Aaron Gordon added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando.

It wasn't immediately clear why Isaac chose to stand while his other teammates knelt, Fox reported.

"We all can take something from his legacy to make us better people every single day", Isaac said, prompting applause.

Instead, Isaac, who also did not join his teammates in wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, stood alone wearing his Magic jersey.

Instead, he wore his Magic jersey and warmup trousers during the anthem.

Isaac, who became the first National Basketball Association player not to protest during the anthem following the league's restart this week, said he informed his locker room of the choice before the team's 128-118 win over the Nets. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday night - when the teams that played in the opening night of the restarted season, those being New Orleans, Utah, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, all knelt for the anthem - that he was relaxing that policy in these times where a desire for equality and social justice is at the forefront of many conversations in this country.

Isaac spoke about his decision after the game, saying he believes Black Lives Matter, but that kneeling and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt doesn't "go hand in hand" with supporting Black lives.

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The 17-year-old boy was arrested earlier Friday in Tampa, where the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office will prosecute the case.

When asked about Isaac's decision not to kneel, Brooklyn Nets rival Garrett Temple said it wasn't a huge deal for him, considering Isaac had supported the fundamental goals of the Black Lives Matter protests. And each and everyone of us do things we shouldn't do and say things we shouldn't say, we dislike people that we shouldn't hate and dislike.

"I believe that Black Lives Matter". National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver, however, said Thursday he would not punish players for kneeling during the anthem.

Isaac stood with his hands behind his back.

The team said it was proud of its players, and stressed that the protests are not about the military, but about "bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police".

Isaac echoed that sentiment in an interview with Click Orlando in June.

With no national broadcast for the Nets-Magic game, people streaming the game online saw one man standing during the national anthem and it just seemed odd to them.

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