Michael Jordan, who some regard as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, broke his silence on Monday about violence that has been plaguing the nation, releasing a statement about the police-involved shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. He also opened up about the deaths of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
In a release to ESPN’s “The Undefeated,” which frames the sports world in relation to arts and culture, Jordan took a relatively neutral stance on the violence:
“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 said.
“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,” he continued.
Jordan also mentioned his upbringing, one that taught him to accept others with openness and love, calling on the nation to adopt the same moral compass.
At the close of the statement, he announced a $2 million donation to causes that support Black victims of police brutality and law enforcement; $1 million will go to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the other million will be donated to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund.
The internet spent the day digesting Jordan’s response, divided between ecstatic and cautious optimism due to his long storied history distancing himself from social justice issues. Throughout his successful career, Jordan’s persona at times appeared to be “business first,” and his silence in regards to previous police shootings stirred up strong frustrations.
NBA star Carmelo Anthony, who recently called on fellow athletes in an impassioned plea to speak out on the shootings, said he supported Jordan’s statement, but added it was “about time.”
Anthony, however, said that Jordan’s statement was critical – he is one of the only Black athletes to achieve such heights in the business world.
“At the end of the day, amongst us, he is our face. He’s a very powerful African-American. So for him to step up in the midst of these times now, it was very big,” Anthony said.
What do you think, NewsOne? Did Jordan take a stand? Sound off in the comments.