For decades, people stood during the national anthem. It’s just what was done. That’s why Colin Kaepernick drew so much attention by kneeling. Yet, as he kneeled, most people – including all NBA players – stood for the Star Spangled Banner.
We’ve come full circle.
Kneeling for the anthem has become more acceptable as people have come to recognize the issues Kaepernick protested – racism, particularly through police brutality. Now, NBA players are uniting to kneel during the anthem. Just a day into the resumption at Disney World, kneeling has become so commonplace within the league that standing during the anthem sticks out.
Unlike the rest of the Magic and Nets before today’s game, Orlando forward Jonathan Isaac stood for the national anthem. Isaac also differed from other players by not wearing a “BLACK LIVES MATTER” shirt.
Just as I felt with Kaepernick, I have respect for Isaac following his own code of ethics – especially amid pressure to do otherwise, especially publicly. It can be difficult to go against the grain.
Why did he stand today? That’s on him to explain – if he wants.
I hope he will.
That’s not necessarily fair. Isaac has stood for the national anthem before every game of his NBA career. Nobody sought an explanation then.
But whether or not he wanted to draw attention, Isaac did. I also suspect he was smart enough to know it was coming. This wasn’t James Harden inadvertently wearing a political mask that he thought looked cool. Discussions of national-anthem protests have factored prominently into the discourse, including among NBA players.
What Isaac did was brave. That’s something.
It’s hard to evaluate much further unless he explains his reasoning.