Carmelo Anthony recently called on sports figures to start using their platform to promote and enhance community relations with police officers around the country following recent incidents in which African-Americans were shot and killed by police. Whether in response to that call to action or not, one of the biggest stars in the basketball world is doing just that. Michael Jordan has announced he will donate $1 million each to two organizations focused on building trust between law enforcement and their communities.
“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,” Jordan wrote in an statement released through The Undefeated on Monday. “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.”
“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,” Jordan went on to explain. “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.”
For the bulk of his career, Jordan has not been one to step into the world of political issues for one reason or another (see: Nike and endorsement deals). Some have criticized him for that at times, which is why seeing Jordan step up in this fashion is so notable.
Jordan’s presence still carries a significant amount of weight when he does speak up, and him joining the growing chorus of those looking to promote positive changes in our communities is well worth respecting. As Jordan admits, his monetary donations may not solve all of the problems facing our communities, but it will hopefully help take steps forward in the progress needed in so many places.