Michael Jordan has spoken out on the racial and social unrest impacting the United States, particularly in the African-American community and police officers.
Jordan has announced grants of $1 million each to two organizations working to build trust between law enforcement and the communities in which they work.
“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 writes in a one-page letter released exclusively to The Undefeated. “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...
“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. 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 has donated to the presidential and senatorial campaigns of Barack Obama, former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential campaign.
For two decades, Jordan has been saddled with a quote attributed to him by an anonymous friend in former Chicago Tribune NBA writer Sam Smith’s 1995 book, The Second Coming, that he didn’t support Gantt because “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” In a later book, Smith said it was a joke, not a political statement and that he felt badly about the backlash Jordan received.