NBA’s First Player to Stand for National Anthem Says ‘The Gospel Supports Black Lives’—Not Kneeling

Jonathan Isaac

Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac became league’s the first NBA player to stand for the national anthem as it was played before the game, while every other player and coach took a knee peacefully protesting police brutality against black lives in America.

The power forward, who averages over 12 points and just under 30 minutes a game for the Magic, also decided against wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt that everyone has been wearing over their jersey during pre-game warmups and ceremonies.

The Orlando Magic defeated the Brooklyn Nets 128-118, and saw Jonathan Isaac score 16 points in 16 minutes. In an interview Isaac gave after the game, who is African American, he was asked, “you didn’t kneel during the anthem, but you also didn’t wear a ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirt. Do you believe that black lives matter?”

Isaac (22), who just recently became an ordained minister this past Spring, responded boldly with “Absolutely (he believes that black lives matter). A lot went into my decision.” Shockingly he said, “kneeling or wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt don’t go hand-in-hand with supporting black lives…I do believe that black lives matter, putting that shirt on or kneeling doesn’t make me support black lives or not.”

My life has been supported through the gospel.

The Magic’s forward explained that his life has been supported through the gospel, “Jesus Christ.” Isaac continued to then give the gospel, “Everyone is made in the image of the God, and we all fall short of God’s glory….We all make mistakes, and 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 if all will come to an understanding of that, and understand that God wants to have a relationship with us…that we can get passed skin color, we can get passed all the things in world that is messed up; jacked up.”

“Racism isn’t the only thing that plagues our society, that plagues our nation, that plagues our world,” he said. “We want to to get passed not only racism but everything that plagues us as a society. I feel like the answer to it is the gospel.”

The reporter followed up with asking, “Can you explain further what religion has to do with kneeling for the anthem to protest against racism and police brutality…the correlation between the two?”

Black lives are supported through the gospel.

Isaac graciously answered, “Honestly I don’t really see it as religion for myself. I see it as a relationship with God, through His Son who died for our sins. Kneeling and putting on a t-shirt, for me personally isn’t the answer. For me, black lives are supported through the gospel. All lives are supported through the gospel.” He ended his answer with, “We all fall short of God’s glory and at the end of the day, whoever will humble themselves and seek God and repent of their sins that we could see it in a different light…see our mistakes and people’s mistakes in a different light…that it would help bring us closer together, and get passed skin color and anything else on the surface that doesn’t really deal with the hearts of men and women.”

He explained he met with his teammates prior to the game and discussed why he wasn’t wearing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt nor kneeling, and they said he had their respect. That it wasn’t a position of becoming popular (because he knew that he would stand out by not kneeling) but to be a humble servant of Jesus.

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Jesse T. Jackson
Jesse is an undeserving husband to a beautiful wife, and a father to 3 beautiful daughters. His family is currently waiting to be matched for their adoption here in the states.  He is a house church shepherd and member of Apex Community Church in Kettering Ohio. Follow him on twitter here. See their adoption video here.