Michael Jordan is well known for his silence on political issues. Never before has Jordan commented publically on any issue of this nature, but he has decided he must speak out both against the shootings of African Americans by police and the gunmen who are targeting police officers, according to NBC Sports.
“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.”
Michael Jordan lost his own father to violent crime in August of 1993, when two men shot and killed James Jordan, stole his car, and then abandoned his body in another state, according to the New York Daily News. The loss of 56-year-old James to a senseless murder weighs heavily in Michael’s mind. No one should have to suffer the kind of senseless loss Michael felt, and yet, so many families lately have suffered exactly that. Fathers are being taken away from their families.
Michael Jordan is speaking out against the violence on both sides and the rhetoric and division that is causing it. Black lives are being taken, and those who are wearing blue are also losing their lives. Michael points out the human tragedy behind the headlines. These are real human beings with families, and their deaths are unacceptable.
“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.”
Michael Jordan refuses to take sides, but rather is saying the violence on both sides has to stop. Jordan is taking a very fair and even approach to the situation. He isn’t demonizing any one group or laying blame. He is simply saying that changes are needed to prevent further human suffering. The losses have been tremendous this summer, and far too many people have died already. He wants a de-escalation of the current situation, not to fuel the fire.
“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.”
Michael Jordan does not stop at merely stating what is on his mind, though. He has put his money where his mouth is, so to speak. Unlike many other celebrities, he has planned a way to actually help improve police relationships in the community and is funding two different organizations to get the job done. Jordan is donating $2 million. The former NBA star will donate $1 million to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations. He is also giving $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, according to the Undefeated.
Michael’s even-handed contributions will be put to good use, according to Terrance Cunningham, the president of the IACP. He hopes to give local police departments and communities the tools and resources to come together and discuss the issue of bias in law enforcement. Both organizations are surprised and thrilled to receive such a sizable donation.
Michael Jordan hopes that his donations will be used to make a difference in relations between police and black communities.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]