Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all time and has undoubtedly made an incredible impact on culture. Yet, the six-time NBA champion and owner of the Charlotte Hornets always faces criticism from those who feel that he could be doing more in the community. Even when he donated $500,000 to literacy programs in Charlotte, some still criticized him.
He’s also been chided about a perceived silence on issues in the Black community, his latest stance may change that perception. The divide between the police and the African American community is no secret and he’s fed up. In a exclusive letter to The Undefeated, Jordan breaks his silence drawing from his own personal story as someone who’s lost a loved to violence, a father to Black men, and outlines how he’ll take action:
“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a Black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well,” Jordan wrote in an announcement that he will contribute $1 million dollars to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in hopes that helping the organizations will make a positive difference.
“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.”
The usually private figure even gives a glimpse into his own experience with police:
“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.”
Read the full story and statement on The Undefeated.