“I can no longer stay silent.”
That was the line that resonated most in the statement Michael Jordan released Monday through The Undefeated.
In it, the NBA legend expressed his sadness over the recent rash of shooting deaths of African-Americans and police officers and also announced he would be donating a total of $2 million to two organizations with the hope of improving relations between the police and the people.
“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family,” Jordan’s statement read. “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.
?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.”
Jordan has been criticized in the past for not using his platform as one of America’s most prominent sports figures to speak out against social injustice. He decided two weeks ago to make the donation, a spokeswoman told The Undefeated, but delayed the announcement amid news of the NBA’s relocation of the 2017 All-Star Game.
Jordan is the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, who were scheduled to host the event until North Carolina’s discriminatory LGBT laws prompted the league to change course. He “did not want his announcement to take away from the focus on the LGBT community,” according to the spokeswoman.
?I applaud Michael Jordan for these donations,? NBA commissioner Adam Silver told The Undefeated. ?His championing of important social issues including fundamental civil and human rights carries enormous impact in communities everywhere.?
Read Jordan’s full statement >>
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images