Prior to the start of the Orlando Magic/Brooklyn Nets game on Friday, Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the only person inside the Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney standing while the national anthem was being sung, becoming the first NBA player to do so this season.
When asked after the game if he believed black lives matter, Issac, who also didn't wear a BLM t-shirt during warm-ups, said he "absolutely" believed black lives mattered.
"A lot went into my decision… 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, 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," Isaac responded.
Isaac, who is also an ordained minister, explained that the gospel of Jesus is the only thing that can help people get through "all the things in our world that are messed up."
"I think 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, I feel like the answer to it is the gospel."
When asked what the correlation was between kneeling for the anthem and religion, Isaac said he didn't see his relationship with God as a religion.
"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. That we all, like I said, have things that we do wrong… We all fall short of God's glory, and that at the end of the day, whoever will humble themselves and see God and repent of their sins, that we could see it in a different light… See people's evil in a different light… It would help bring us closer together, and get past skin color, get past anything that's on the surface that doesn't really deal with the hearts of men and women."