Michael Jordan Breaks Silence on Race-Related Police Shootings
"I grieve with the families ... I know their pain all too well," he wrote.
— -- Basketball legend Michael Jordan lost his father, James, in 1993 after two men shot him to death in his car while he was parked on the side of a highway in North Carolina.
Today, Jordan is doing what fellow greats like Muhammad Ali have done before him, speaking out against what he views as current social injustices plaguing this nation - not just the killing of allegedly innocent blacks in this country at the hands of police, but the targeted retaliation of police thereafter.
In a statement and story published on "The Undefeated," Jordan referenced the killings in Dallas, Baton Rouge and so many other regions in America, by writing, "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."
He continued, "I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well."
The six-time NBA champion, 53, and legendary Chicago Bull was taught "to love and respect people regardless of their race or background." He used the word "saddened" to describe his thoughts on the "racial tensions" that have inflicted the nation's cities in recent weeks.
"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," he wrote.
The man who many know simply as "No. 23," acknowledged that his experience with police may be different than other "people of color," but he said he "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 five-time NBA MVP continued. "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."
The problems and tensions that currently exist in communities "didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow," Jordan added.
"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," he closed.
Jordan's statement today comes less than two weeks after some of the biggest names in sports -- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony -- shared similar sentiments at the 2016 ESPY Awards.
"We can't ignore the reality of the current state of America," Anthony said during the show. "The system is broken. The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency to create change is at an all-time high."
"It's time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, 'What are we doing to create change?'" James added.
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