We toss around words like “legend” and “icon” on a daily basis. In the social media age, we feel like every person we look up to is the biggest celebrity on the planet and will reign forever. However, few of these people can hold a candle to Michael Jordan with regards to being truly iconic. He’s remained ubiquitous in our culture for 30 years and his name probably carries as much clout now as it did during his NBA heyday. With that in mind, MJ has never been one to speak out on political issues, opting to cultivate and protect his bottom line.
That changed today.
In a letter┬áon┬áThe Undefeated,┬áJordan says the recent killings of African-American men and police officers compels him to speak and that he can “no longer stay silent.”
“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.
ÔÇ£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 ÔÇô who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all ÔÇô are respected and supported.”
This may not be a big deal to some since we live in a world┬áwhere NBA stars have no problem taking stances for what they believe in. But to a lot of us, this is huge.
ÔÇ£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.”
Michael acknowledges that his experiences with law enforcement probably don’t mirror that of those with none of his money or influence. But he’s seen it over the years and recognizes that there should be no difference. He also has a tremendous respect for police officers and the good work that they do. Walking the line between respecting law enforcement while also recognizing the differences in how African Americans are treated isn’t easy to do, but he manages to pull it off.
Jordan is also putting his money where his mouth is, donating $1 million to the┬áInstitute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Whether it was that the violence became too much for him to bear or he wanted to follow the example set by the younger generation of NBA players who still idolize him, the man who once wanted no part of anything remotely controversial is finally putting his skin in the game.
(Via The Undefeated)
A Usually Impartial Michael Jordan Breaks His Silence On Recent Police Shootings : UPROXX