Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic was the lone player standing during the national anthem in July 2020, and he says he has no regrets.
Isaac discussed why he chose to be the first to remain standing in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller's "The David Hookstead Show."
“It came down to conviction,” Isaac, also an ordained minister, said. “The reason I decided to stand was because I was seeing the same thing everybody else was seeing in terms of the negativity that was being spewed, the divisiveness, all the craziness and the tragedies as well.”
“America has been and is hurting in a deep way, in a great way and a lot of times it doesn’t look like there is much hope but when I look at my own personal life and how I have been changed and redeemed, and how I have been provided for by the Gospel and by Jesus Christ, that is what I was trying to offer,” Isaac said.
Orlando Magic player Jonathan Isaac stood alone for the national anthem.— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) July 31, 2020
This is what courage looks like. When the rest of the NBA took a knee, Isaac stood with pride for America.
Sometimes, when you stand for what is right, you must stand alone. pic.twitter.com/fl4cb2qbtF
When he sees the American flag, Isaac added, he feels “respect.”
“I am glad I live in a country where I am able to profess my religious beliefs and that they are protected by our Constitution,” Issac said. “I am glad about that. I am not sad about that. I am happy I live in America and I am afforded the liberties and freedoms to live here.”
The interview also touched on Isaac’s decision to refuse the vaccine ahead of the NBA season. Because of his decision Isaac will soon not be able to dine with teammates and may be limited on when he is able to leave the team hotel. Isaac said he is not anti-vaccine, but sees the controversy as a bigger issue.
“This is much bigger than just the vaccine. This is much bigger than basketball. We are talking about the freedoms and liberties we are afforded in this country being challenged in a way that we haven’t seen. For those reasons, you know what, I am willing to take a stand on this and say, ‘I am not going to get vaccinated at this time,’” Isaac explained. “I’ve done enough to look into it to be a voice to it, to share my reasoning and to continue to be a voice for the voiceless.”
Isaac emphasized that the government’s handling of the pandemic creates fear for the future emergencies.
“The administration is setting a precedent that in light of any emergency our freedom, your religious freedom, your bodily autonomy is then up for negotiation by the people who are in power and by the people who agree with the people in power.”
Hookstead concluded the interview asking Isaac’s advice to those who feel as if America may not be a country worth celebrating. Isaac stressed the importance of appreciating the blessing of the country.
“You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and if you were to experience a different place and go some place where you don’t have the freedom and liberty you have in America, I am sure you would want to be back here,” Isaac said.