For many years, Michael Jordan was criticized for not taking a more prominent stance on varying social issues. But now, given the rash of police shootings and troubled race relations in America, the 53-year-old NBA legend is speaking out.
In a lengthy statement to The Undefeated, Jordan explains why he “can no longer stay silent.” He also reveals his reasoning for donating $1 million to the the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and another $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence [Jordan’s father James R. Jordan was murdered in 1993 on the side of a North Carolina highway], 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,” said Jordan. “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”
In Jordan’s statement to The Undefeated, he explained he “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,” said Jordan. “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.”