Magics' Jonathan Isaac is first National Basketball Association player to stand for anthem

Ross Houston
August 1, 2020

Teammates supported the decision, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Isaac had yet to discuss his decision publicly.

Because of the four-month delay in action this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaac has been able to recover in time to suit up for the Magic for the final weeks of the campaign.

All coaches from both clubs also knelt in protest, with some players choosing to lock arms as others raised a fist.

He's the first National Basketball Association player to stand during the playing of the anthem since the National Basketball Association relaunched its games from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. And if guys are not comfortable kneeling and they want to stand, nobody has a problem with that.

The Magic released a statement in support of the demonstration, saying, "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 NBA has a rule stating kneeling is not allowed during the national anthem. "I'm glad these guys are all unified". 'If people don't kneel, they're not a bad person. "I just felt that kneeling or wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt don't go hand in hand with supporting Black Lives", he said.

When asked about Isaac's decision not to kneel, Brooklyn Nets rival Garrett Temple said it wasn't a huge deal for him, considering Isaac had supported the fundamental goals of the Black Lives Matter protests.

"Listen, the national anthem means different things to different people", TNT analyst Charles Barkley said in televised comments Thursday.

The anthem before the Jazz-Pelicans game was performed virtually by Louisiana native Jon Batiste, who played a rendition with a mix of piano and guitar. "... Putting that shirt on and kneeling wasn't hand in hand on supporting Black lives or made me support Black lives or not".

Players were also given the option to replace the name on the backs of their jerseys with a message of social reform. Lakers star LeBron James passed on the option and went with his last name.

His relationship with his team does not appear to be strained by his decision to stand for the anthem, at least according to coach Steve Clifford and guard Evan Fournier.

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