Basketball legend Michael Jordan has studiously avoided espousing any political sentiments during his playing career and even his retirement. his self-imposed silence held even after his father was murdered for his car by two criminals, Daniel Andre Green and Larry Martin Demery.
Jordan is breaking his decades-long silence to come forth in an attempt to heal the growing rift between law enforcement officers and minority communities in the weeks after supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement ambushed and murdered police officers in domestic terrorist attacks in cities around the nation. These attacks arose in response to dishonest narratives offered up by a liberal media who spun the officer-involved shooting deaths as executions of innocent and non-threatening men merely for being black.
The emerging reality of these shootings were that Alton Sterling was shot as he fought two officers and reached for a gun, while the shooting of Philando Castile occurred after officers stopped him for matching the description of an armed robbery suspect and then Castile was shot when said “I’ve got a gun” and then reached for his concealed carry permit in a move the officer interpreted as an attempt to draw his weapon.
While others have attempted to spin Jordan’s statement as having picked one side or the other, Jordan’s statement is clearly that of a man seeking to unify America instead of tearing it apart.
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. 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.
“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.
Unlike so many celebrities using these shootings to push a political message that they think will help their careers at no cost to themselves, Jordan is putting his money where his mouth is, and is contributing two million dollars towards finding common ground.
“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.
Basketball fans have long considered Jordan one of the greatest athletes and role models of all time.
Now they can add “peacemaker” to his list of accolades.