In a recent interview with Riley Gaines, NBA star Jonathan Isaac defended his political stances among his fellow players
In the midst of NBA players (and other sports figures) kneeling in protest in the wake of George Floyd’s very public, tragic death, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac made headlines for standing. Since 2020, he’s been lauded by those on the political right for his patriotism, while often vilified by those on the opposite side of the equation. However, the 26-year-old has stuck by his principles, despite how much he has been maligned.
In a recent interview with former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines on her Gaines for Girls podcast, Isaac defended his political stances among his fellow players and said he still has no regrets for standing up for what he believes in.
“For me, that was kind of the highlight of my early career of being in the NBA, was 2020,” Isaac recalled. “It was after the tragic death of George Floyd, and we were ushered into the NBA ‘bubble,’ where there was just so much pressure. Not even just in the bubble, but just around the world with the rise of the Black Lives Matter organization and movement.”
Isaac said that his time in the NBA bubble involved a lot of pressure to back down from his original gesture, but he didn’t let it bother him. At the same time, most players in the NBA were kneeling during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’.
“For me, it was simply about offering another solution. I saw the issue. I saw the problem. I saw what happened to George Floyd. And as I listened to the tone and the rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter organization and movement, I never truly felt comfortable.”
Jonathan Isaac, who has very publicly stated his religious beliefs, said that he let teammates know in advance that he would not be joining them in protest. Which, needless to say, was a tough thing for the young star to do amongst his peers.
“And I said, ‘Fellas, I’m not going to kneel, and I’m not going to wear that T-shirt… Simply because I have another solution,” Isaac told Gaines. “I don’t believe that kneeling for the national anthem or wearing a T-shirt is the same thing as saying that we support Black lives. They’re not synonymous.”
Then, Jonathan Isaac summarized the way he sees the racial divide in America and offered his thoughts on how to begin solving the problem.
“I believe that the ultimate answer is that if White and Black people collectively can choose to love each other in spite of the differences, in spite of the fallouts, in spite of the sins of each other, then we could have true change. Because we all fall short of God’s glory. We’ve all done wrong, and it’s easy to point the finger at somebody when their wrong is displayed. But if ours were, how would we want to be handled?'”
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