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Sports

Lone NBA Player Refuses To Kneel: Doesn't Wear BLM Shirt, Gives Perfect Response to Critics

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Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac stood out Friday when he refused to kneel or wear a “Black Lives Matter” shirt while the national anthem played prior to a game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Isaac, the first player to stand for the anthem since the NBA season restarted Thursday, stood with his hands behind his back while wearing his Magic jersey.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that his decision was not a surprise to his teammates, and that he had discussed it with them beforehand.

After the game, a 128-118 Magic win, Isaac, an ordained Christian minister, told reporters he “absolutely” believes black lives matter and said “a lot went into my decision.”

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“Kneeling or wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt don’t go hand in hand with supporting black lives,” he said. “I do believe that black lives matter but I just felt like it was a decision that I had to make, and I didn’t feel like putting that shirt on and kneeling went hand in hand with supporting black lives.”

“My life has been supported through the gospel, Jesus Christ, everyone is made in the image of God and that we all fall short of God’s glory, and that each and every one of us each and every day do things that we shouldn’t do, we say things that we shouldn’t say, we hate and dislike people that we shouldn’t hate and dislike, and sometimes it gets to a point where we point fingers about whose evil is worse, and sometimes it comes down to simply whose evil is most visible,” Isaac added.

“We all make mistakes, but I think that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that there’s grace for us, and that Jesus came and died for our sins, and that we all will come to an understanding of that, and understand that God wants to have a relationship with us, that we can get past skin color, we can can get past all the things in our world that are messed up, jacked up.”

Do you think Isaac will be criticized by the left for refusing to kneel?

“When you look around, racism isn’t the only thing that afflicts our society, that plagues our nation, that plagues our world. I feel like coming together on that message that we want to get past not only racism but everything that plagues us as a society,” Isaac added.

“I feel like the answer to it is the gospel.”

Later, he said his faith is more than “religion,” pointing out that it’s “a relationship with God.”

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“I don’t think that kneeling or putting on a T-shirt for me personally is the answer. I feel like, for me, black lives are supported through the gospel. All lives are supported through the gospel.”

“I believe Jesus is the answer. I didn’t think wearing a message on the jersey was the answer,” added Isaac, who said he prayed during the national anthem, according to New York Times reporter Marc Spears.

Magic ownership, meanwhile, praised the decision of Isaac’s teammates to kneel.

“The DeVos Family and the Orlando Magic organization fully supports Magic players who have chosen to leverage their professional platform to send a peaceful and powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color,” the team said in a statement, according to Fox News.

“We are proud of the positive impact our players have made and join with them in the belief that sports can bring people together — bridging divides and promoting inclusion, equality, diversity and unity. We know this is not about the military, the men and women who serve honorably to keep our communities safe for all, or those who have paid the ultimate price to provide freedom, including freedom of expression.

“We’re confident the entire Magic family has immense respect for these entities and individuals. This is about coming together to end racism once and for all. We are committed to walking alongside our players — today and in the many days ahead — in the pursuit of lasting and impactful change.”

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Joe Setyon is a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who has spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon is deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
Birthplace
Brooklyn, New York
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Politics




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