The basketball legend has been criticized for years for remaining neutral on social issues affecting the Black community despite earning a lot of money for American youths clamoring for his expensive sneakers. Jordan has decided itâ€™s time to speak upâ€¦
In an open penned for The Undefeated Michael 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.
â€œI 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 â€“ who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all â€“ are respected and supported.
â€œOver 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.
â€œTo support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Policeâ€™s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relationsâ€™ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nationâ€™s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.
â€œWe are privileged to live in the worldâ€™s greatest country â€“ a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didnâ€™t happen overnight and they wonâ€™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.â€