On July 25, basketball star Michael Jordan joined the public fight against racial injustice.
He addressed the problems he sees in America by releasing a letter written for The Undefeated.
The Charlotte Hornets owner begins his letter:
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.
In 1993, Jordan’s father was murdered, according to the Los Angeles Times. James Jordan’s body, marked by a fatal gunshot wound in the chest, was found floating in a creek in South Carolina. Three years later, Michael Jordan dedicated his championship win to his father.
The championship game, played on Father’s Day, sparked an emotional response for Jordan, reported Ball is Life. A decade later, Jordan has taken his emotions and outrage toward the current state of American affairs to the next level.
This level seems to be a very productive level.
Jordan’s official letter in The Undefeated tells his fans and readers all around the world exactly where the basketball superstar stands on police violence in America.
Jordan notes that his encounters with law enforcement officers have been positive throughout his life. In a very respectful tone, recognizing the sacrifice that officers make daily, Jordan calls for dialog and education to end the violence that black men and women have experienced in America recently.
Jordan’s call for dialog also comes with the promise of two very substantial donations to fund education and constructive change.
The first donation -- $1 million -- will go to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations, an organization that teaches officers the best practices for policing. The second donation, also totaling $1 million, will go to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund.
The Institute for Community-Police Relations is a new initiative, while the NAACP’s Legal Defense program is the country’s oldest civil rights law organization. Donations to both causes will fund programs to enhance relationships between law enforcement officials and community members.
The Undefeated reports that Jordan’s letter adds to a larger “renaissance of social justice advocacy” among influential professional athletes.
To open the most recent ESPY’s awards show, Dwayne Wade’s pleaded for an end to gun violence and police brutality. The Washington Mystics took the court for a recent home game wearing “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts. Now, Jordan’s letter proves that a real movement is starting in the athletic community, reminiscent of the social justice work done by Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabba in the 1960s.
Jordan said that “We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country.” That country, however, is plagued by a serious issue. Jordan noted that serious issues take time to solve. He concluded his letter saying, “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.”