Viral READ: Jordan Breaks Silence on Shootings by Police, Attacks on Officers
— ESPN (@espn) July 25, 2016
In a letter entitled, "I Can No Longer Stay Silent," basketball legend Michael Jordan called for the country to come together, expressing anger over the killings of African-Americans by police officers and the attacks on American police officers.
“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," he said.
Jordan, whose father was killed in a 1993 carjacking, said he grieves with the families who have lost loved ones.
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.
Jordan, 53, also pledged $1 million donations to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities," he concluded.
"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."
Jordan, arguably the greatest-ever on the hardwood, has been criticized over the years for not making public statements on political or social issues.
Fellow NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slammed Jordan last year in an interview, bringing up the ex-Chicago Bulls star's lucrative Nike shoe deals as a possible reason.
"You can't be afraid of losing shoe sales if you're worried about your civil and human rights. He took commerce over conscience. It's unfortunate for him, but he's gotta live with it," he told NPR.
Read his full statement, here.