Michael Jordan has finally spoken about racism. In an exclusive letter published today (July 25) by The Undefeated, Jordan writes:
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.
The 53-year-old former basketball player—aka the “greatest basketball player in NBA history”—also donated $1 million each to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to support "peaceful dialogue and education" that will lead to "constructive change." The Institute for Community-Police Relations is a new initiative from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization. "Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problems," writes Jordan, "I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference."
In the past Jordan was notorious for being apolitical. In 1990, when he declined to support a Black Democrat running for a North Carolina Senate seat, he was famously quoted as saying, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”
Read the letter in its entirety here.