(CBS) — For years reluctant to address controversial issues as he managed his world-famous brand, Bulls legend and Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan has been moved to speak out against recent social and racial unrest in America, also pledging $2 million in an effort to help the issues be solved.
Jordan is donating $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and another $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as the Undefeated first reported. Jordan has released a public statement saying, “I can no longer stay silent.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Dangerous Subzero Temps, Lake Effect Snow In Some Areas
For years, Jordan stayed out of political and social matters, but the recent tragic police shootings of African-Americans and also the shooting deaths of five police officers by a sniper in Dallas have hit him hard, though.READ MORE: Body Camera Video Shows Shootout With University Of Chicago Police Officer That Left Man Critically Wounded In Hyde Park
Jordan’s father, James, was murdered in 1993 while he was pulled over in his car on the side of the road in North Carolina.
Here’s Jordan’s statement:
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“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. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.
“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. 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.
“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. 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.
“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, 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.”
Jordan’s stand and statement come during a time when NBA players have become more outspoken. At the ESPY Awards on July 13, NBA stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade opened the show by calling on their peers to speak up and take leading roles regarding issues of police brutality, gun violence and racial injustice.