Michael Jordan has issued a statement in response to recent police killings of African-Americans and the subsequent killing of police offers, saying, "I can no longer stay silent." His statement, published by The Undefeated, expresses hope for future unity between police and African-Americans in the U.S.
"As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man," Jordan said, "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."
In his statement, Jordan is careful not to condemn police officers or universally cast them in a negative light.
"Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family," he says. "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."
In the statement, Jordan announced two $1 million donations, one to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations and one to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
This statement comes on the heels of Nike CEO Mark Parker's letter on the same subject, in which he laid out plans for the brand to lead conversations on race within the company.
Jordan has been criticized in the past for his unwillingness to comment on social issues, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accusing him in 2015 of "[taking] commerce over conscience."
See Jordan's full statement here.