The NBA made it’s return on Thursday, it’s in a “bubble” but it’s back. Leading up to the games there was much talk about using the NBA’s platform to fight for justice, against racism and against police brutality. This talk included jersey names, signage and messaging throughout the gym and kneeling during the anthem.
One player who chose not to kneel or wear the Black Lives Matter t-shirt was Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac. Isaac is an ordained minister and he said the following, “Putting that shirt on and kneeling wasn’t hand in hand on supporting Black lives or made me support Black lives or not. I believe that my life is supported through the gospel, through Jesus Christ and that everyone is made in the image of God and we all fall short of God’s glory.” Interesting explanation, but he had the support of his teammates.
The Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard also stood during the anthem and he had this to say about it, “I am a compassionate human being and I truly love all people ‘If you’re not kneeling, you’re not with us.’ And that’s not true. I will continue to use my platform, my voice and my actions to show how much I care about the African American culture and for everyone.”
Spurs’ coaches Gregg Popovich and Becky Hammon also stood for the anthem. Popovich said his decision to stand was personal and he will keep it to himself. He has always been outspoken on issues of race and human rights.
Who is to say what is right or what is wrong when it comes to your personal protest? The country is watching the NBA and the platform is there, so use it wisely. Instead of only focusing on who is wearing what or kneeling or not; we can focus on bringing change to policies that allow police to escape from prosecution after murdering Black citizens. Yes, kneeling is a protest against police brutality, it is not the only way to do it. Therefore, if a person believes in the cause and supports it, but chooses to do it in a different way should they be vilified? There are other villains for us to focus our attention.