Michael Jordan: 'I can no longer stay silent' on violence in America

Michael Jordan Statue

Michael Jordan released a statement on Monday in response to the shootings of African-Americans and the targeting of police officers.

“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,” Jordan wrote in a one-page letter for The Undefeated. “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”

In his statement Jordan announced a pair of $1m donations to groups dedicated toward improving relations between police and the community: the recently established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization.

Added Jordan: “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.

“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.”

The remarks are especially noteworthy given Jordan’s well-documented reticence to speak on political issues. But with violence reaching epidemic levels on America’s streets, more and more athletes have felt compelled to use their platforms to serve the greater good.

“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.”

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