Will a dawning come over the league at any point?
As we have been covering, the return of professional sports has been a mixed bag. There was the expected rush of excitement when the various leagues dared to restart their schedules but they have also been heavily infused with the social activism of the day. Players are mostly kneeling and fields and courts are adorned with pandering messaging to the activists. This has led to an unexpected waning of ratings with the fans.
Now we see another shining example that fans are tiring of the persistent lecturing from the players and the leagues. The NBA has been intent on making the uniforms a point of contention as they have restarted its schedule. The decision was made to allow players to replace their names on jerseys with a cause of their choosing, but then it gave out a list of what those approved phrases would be. (Hint – no pro-life messaging, nor ‘’All Lives Matter’’ type of support is permitted.)
Then a ridiculous development was seen when an early game involving the Miami Heat when player Jimmy Butler did not want to participate in the messaging. He declared that he did not want to promote divisions between races and his message was exactly that of no message. He took to the court with nothing at all printed on the back of his jersey, serving as his own statement, and the officials made him go back to the locker room and get a jersey with his name on it. This is how ridiculous things have become — the act of not making a statement is considered controversial.
In Orlando their player Jonathan Isaac made a name for himself in a similar fashion. Isaac created a stir in the league, and on social media, for electing to remain standing for the national anthem and deciding to forego wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt during warmups. Isaac is a devout Christian and is proud to state this is his driving force in life, not social signaling. He was of course peppered with questions following, demanded to explain himself for not being a part of the activist activities.
But while there was a chance that he could have become a pariah on the court something remarkable has taken place that others, like the maligned Drew Brees in the NFL, should notice. After his lack of cooperation and his calm comments in the press conferences Isaac has seen the sales of his jersey surge. Currently his name on a Magic uniform is second in sales to fans only behind superstar LeBron James.
Jonathan Isaac’s jersey sales have skyrocketed after he stood for the National Anthem.
He is now number two in jerseys sales among players only behind LeBron James. pic.twitter.com/1JLwEPtLG8
— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) August 2, 2020
This is a clear and distinct message as the fans are stating how they support the resistance to the lecturing and activism. There is a possibility of this leading to a dawning on those in higher positions in the NBA. Recently the very outspoken coach Steve Kerr grudgingly went against league talking points regarding China, actually admitting that he had been wrong with his assessments on items such as Hong Kong. There is hope yet that some sanity might return to sports…someday.