After Michael Jordan released a statement yesterday speaking up about violence by and against police, many in the sports world reacted to the retired NBA player’s stance. Atlanta Black Star reported Jordan was “saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late” adding, “I can no longer stay silent.” Carmelo Anthony thought the Charlotte Hornets owner’s opinion was overdue.
During a meeting on community issues between Team USA players and local police in Los Angeles, Anthony praised Jordan for finally speaking out about a political issue, especially one that relates to African-Americans. It is something the former Chicago Bulls player has steered clear of in the past.
“I thought it was brilliant and about time that he stepped up and said what he said,” the New York Knicks forward told ESPN at the Boys and Girls Club in California. “Because at the end of the day, amongst us, he is our face. He’s an African-American above every powerful African-American, so for him to step up in the midst of these times right now, it was very big on his behalf.”
Carmelo Anthony on Michael Jordan's statement today. "I thought it was brilliant and about time he stepped up." pic.twitter.com/D3htGey0MI
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 25, 2016
“And not also just step up – it’s not always about money and giving back,” he said, referring to Jordan’s $2 million contributions to organizations dedicated to improving police and community relations. “But for him to step up and put his money where his mouth at, the timing was perfect.”
Social media reaction was mixed.
Jaison Oliver encouraged doubters to read about the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, one of the organizations Jordan gave $1 million to. But he also decried the other $1 million donation to the Institute for Community-Police Relations.
However, Jordan absolutely could've better allocated the other $1mil he gave to the police chiefs org.
Stop playing both sides, Mike.
— Jaison Oliver (@oJaison) July 26, 2016
And Beats Music’s director of influencer marketing Kenny Hamilton pointed out Jordan’s private philanthropy.
Michael Jordan has donated money over the years for various causes in a silent manner. Yet people always criticize what they don't know.
— Kenny Hamilton (@KennyHamilton) July 25, 2016
Besides Anthony, at least one other athlete has also commended the billionaire ex-baller. Jim Brown – who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965 – praised Jordan for finally speaking up about anti-violence.
“I applaud Michael. He’s taken his time to, what I think, put his mind to what he was going say and represent,” Brown told the sports network. “He put his money there and the only thing I can do is praise him and thank him for reaching out for and using his tremendous people power in a way that I feel will make a difference in this country.”
Still, some are more critical. Panelist Kevin Blackistone questioned why Jordan would donate to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the Legal Defense Fund over Black Lives Matter.
“I’m hard pressed to believe how you can be emotionally moved by the extrajudicial killings of Black men in this country, and then cut a check for a million dollars to the police,” he said on Around The Horn Monday. “The police aren’t in need of funding when it comes to this situation.”
“Why not give the Black Lives Matter movement a legal arm and fund – and seed some funding to start that as a new civil rights movement for a new generation,” he said of the Legal Defense Fund donation.
He added the star should use his platform as a Hanes underwear spokesperson to urge the company to “bring back some of the 30 plants they closed down in the early 2000s here and…bring those jobs back to urban America” to give Black youth better jobs.