Michael Jordan released a statement on the recent spate of police shootings of African Americans and violence against law enforcement that has plagued the country.
Buzzfeed notes that Jordan is known for his apolitical stances, but he broke his silence after releasing a statement to ESPN’s The Undefeated on Monday.
The famous NBA star’s views are marked by neutrality. He expresses his feelings on both sides when it comes to African Americans being killed by police and officers being targeted by infuriated and hateful individuals.
“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. “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) July 25, 2016
Jordan shared the family values he was raised with and the importance of respecting others in spite of the color of their skin or background. He’s exasperated by the growing tensions that seemingly won’t cease. He says that he believes the nation is better than this disturbing epidemic of violence underscored by racial division.
“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,” Jordan continued. “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.”
Michael Jordan doesn’t attack the integrity of law enforcement in his profound statement. Instead, he acknowledges that his experience with police officers has been different than many “people of color.” He urges citizens to “come together” and find a way to “achieve constructive change” in the process.
“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family,” Jordan continued. “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 announced that he’s donating $1 million each to two organizations — the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
— ESPN (@espn) July 25, 2016
The fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile outside of Minneapolis, in addition to the deadly shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, have basketball players reacting to the issue.
According to the report, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade spoke out about the disturbing trend of police violence at the 2016 ESPY Awards. Carmelo Anthony is set to host a forum in Los Angeles Monday to discuss racial problems in policing and police violence.
When WNBA players wore Black Lives Matter shirts during pregames, it was a violation of league uniform policies, and they were fined by the league for protesting. The WNBA reversed the fines for the protest after players took the opportunity to speak out against racial injustices and police brutality.
Michael Jordan was objective in his statement without taking either side of the issue related to the police shootings of African Americans and violence targeting law enforcement. In the end, he accomplished his goal of expressing the sheer sadness he has for the state of our country when it comes to race relations and law and order.
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