In their first NBA restart game in Orlando, the Orlando Magic defeated the Brooklyn Nets by 128-118. But it is not their win that has garnered more headlines. Rather, Orlando Magic forward, Jonathan Isaac standing during the national anthem for the July 31 match made more headlines as his team and Brooklyn Nets players knelt to protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
Pictures on the Internet reveal that Isaac stood with his hands behind his back. He was wearing his Magic jersey rather than the ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirt that other players had worn during the NBA restart season at Walt Disney World. Magic coach Steve Clifford said Isaac discussed his decision with the Magic and was supported by his teammates. Isaac who was ruled out for the rest of the season due to knee injury was declared fit to play due to restarting of basketball matches after it was halted in March this year because of the pandemic.
Since his choice to stand the Internet is busy taking sides. Some are calling him a ‘Make America Great Again’ ( MAGA) guy, while some respect him for standing up for the American flag. “Jonathan Isaac follows Prager U? Dude isnt just an uninformed young guy, he’s FULL Maga” tweeted a user.
Jonathan Isaac follows Prager U? Dude isnt just an uninformed young guy, he’s FULL Maga.
— Hasn’t acquired a new quarantine skill yet (@KingFavre) August 1, 2020
Another one asserted, “So Jonathan Isaac is a MAGA guy. Ahaaaaaaa”
So Jonathan Isaac is a MAGA guy. Ahaaaaaaa ?
— Suave K (@illkhalil) July 31, 2020
Many even joked that Jonathan might as well walk around the court wearing a MAGA hat sans a mask.
jonathan isaac might as well walk around the bubble wearing a maga hat not wearing a mask
— maxwell (@mxwllrnd) July 31, 2020
“I hope Jonathan Isaac hops on his name trending and gets to see that only the alt right/white MAGA hat wearing psychos are backing him right now. I gave him the benefit of the doubt but his reason was straight up bullshit. I’m white and wouldn’t want a locker next to him now…” tweeted another user.
I hope Jonathan Isaac hops on his name trending and gets to see that only the alt right/white MAGA hat wearing psychos are backing him right now. I gave him the benefit of the doubt but his reason was straight up bullshit. I’m white and wouldn’t want a locker next to him now…
— Brandon (@boydyo28) July 31, 2020
Isaac cited the gospel as his explanation during his post-game media interaction. Taylor Rooks asked him “You didn’t kneel during the anthem but you also didn’t wear a black lives matter shirt. Do you believe black lives matter?” and he responded saying:
“I do believe that Black Lives Matter. A lot went into my decision and part of that is my thought kneeling or wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt don’t go hand-in-hand with supporting black lives.”
“I believe my life is supported through the gospel, Jesus Christ, and everyone is made in the image of God and that we fall short of God’s glory. And that each and every one of us each and every day do things we shouldn’t do and say things that we shouldn’t (say) and hate and dislike people we shouldn’t hate and dislike. Sometimes it gets to point where we point fingers about whose evil is worse and sometimes it comes out as whose evil is most visible.”
I asked Jonathan Isaac two questions:
You didn’t kneel during the anthem but you also didn’t wear a black lives matter shirt. Do you believe black lives matter?
Can you explain what religion has to do with kneeling for the anthem to protest against racism and police brutality? pic.twitter.com/me61FleWPY
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) July 31, 2020
He mentioned how the USA is also plagued by many other issues besides racism. “When you look around, racism isn’t the only thing that plagues our society, that plagues our nation, that plagues are world. We want to get past not only racism but everything that plagues our society. I feel like the answer to it is the gospel.”
After this, the Internet said that they need more sports players like him who can “stand up for the American Flag.” He soon became the “favorite” amongst folks.
People said they have never recognized him before until his recent act at NBA. “Jonathan Isaac is the first NBA player to stand for the anthem. Never heard of him. Don’t know the color of his skin. He’s my favorite NBA player.”
Jonathan Isaac is the first NBA player to stand for the anthem.
Never heard of him. Don’t know the color of his skin.
He’s my favorite NBA player.
— Charged Neutron (@fusion_allusion) August 1, 2020
Many call it an amazing and proud moment and that shows how much the Internet is divided over his being a Trump supporter or not. “‘I say Amen!”.