If you Google the words "Michael Jordan silent," you will find that MJ has been criticized many, many times over the course of the last two decades for not speaking up enough with regards to important social issues. One of the first articles that pops up when you run those words through Google is a New York Times piece from June 1992 that featured MJ’s own teammate Craig Hodges ripping him for not addressing the riots that took place in Los Angeles back then.
In recent years and, more specifically, in recent weeks, the voices calling for MJ to take a stand on social issues that have affected America have grown significantly louder. So on Monday morning, MJ finally broke his silence by releasing a strongly worded statement through The Undefeated, which featured MJ talking about how he’s "deeply troubled" to see all of the police shootings that have taken place recently. In his statement, MJ addressed both the police officers who have shot and killed black men as well as the police officers who have been shot and killed in retaliation.
Here’s how MJ explained his decision to speak up in his statement:
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.
MJ also announced that he will be making contributions of $1 million to both the Institute for Community-Police Relations, which was just established by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He added that he knows "these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem" but that he hopes "the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference."
Additionally, MJ spoke about the slow process it will take to fix the problems plaguing America at this time:
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.
You can read MJ’s entire statement here.