NBA Legend Michael Jordan is known for sticking to the NBA or business script and not speaking out on issues of the day, but the recent killings of black men by police as well as police officers being ambushed and killed as retaliation have made him feel compelled to do something.
Jordan was personally touched by violence when his father was killed in a car jacking, and he includes that incident in a one page letter posted today in The Undefeated:
“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. “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.”
Jordan announced that he will make $2 million in donations, $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and $1 to the Institute for Community-Police Relations in hopes that these two organizations can use the donation as resources to increase dialogue between people.
Jordan also wrote that while he has the “greatest respect” for the sacrifice and service of people in law enforcement, he recognizes that his experiences with law enforcement are different for him than for many other people of color.
“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,” he said.