Michael Jordan is opening up about this month’s shootings by and against police today after announcing contributions of $1 million each to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In a one-page statement, Jordan condemns all violence committed against law enforcement and the Black community.
The retired NBA player decided to make a statement after the back-to-back killings of two Black men – Alton Sterling and Philando Castile July 5 and 6 – which led to the deaths of five cops in a Dallas shooting July 7. Less than two weeks later, three officers were killed in a shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man,” Jordan said in a statement issued to The Undefeated,” 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 am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late,” he 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.”
Jordan went on to announce donations of $1 million each to the International Association of Chief of Police’s group and the Legal Defense Fund. Both groups work to improve relations between law enforcement and their communities.
“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,” he said in his statement.
The Legal Defense Fund’s director and president Sherrilyn Ifill said they were “surprised and shocked.”
“We’ve been working on these issues for some many years,” she told The Undefeated. “And it’s great to hear that Michael Jordan and his people are aware of our work and are willing to make a contribution.”
Referring to the donation as a way to help provide departments and communities with tools for communication, IACP president Terrence Cunningham added, “What an opportunity for Michael Jordan to do this and help raise the discussion between police and the members of the communities they serve.”
Jordan’s donation is welcome after the Charlotte Hornets majority owner was ripped for donating $500,000 to the North Carolina city’s literacy programs.
Carolyn Williams thought sales of the former athlete’s Air Jordan sneakers must have been low considering the half a million dollar contribution.
Gustav Graves called the grant “scraps from the table.”
Paul James pointed to Jordan’s net worth, which amounts to $1.14 billion according to Forbes, and questioned why the wealthy star would have only given a small fraction of that.