Michael Jordan has had enough.
The six-time NBA champion, majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, and consensus pick as the greatest basketball player of all time released a lengthy statement concerning the nation’s growing divide between citizens and police to The Undefeated. He also donated $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Pertinent portions of Jordan’s passionate statement are below:
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.
“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.”
“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”
Jordan, 53, has been subject to increasing scrutiny over the past few years for his time-honored stance against speaking out on social issues. The nature of his activism compared to that of LeBron James’, for instance, is stark in both frequency and tone.
Might Jordan have been influenced to speak out by the pointed call to action from James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade at last week’s ESPYs? Perhaps. What really matters, though, is that an athlete who still holds more cultural clout than any other in America has lent a strong voice and helping hand to this ongoing issue.
Here’s hoping Jordan’s words not only inspire others in the sports world to try and affect change, but more importantly ensure that progress continues being made throughout the country.
(Via The Undefeated)