Just weeks after REVOLT Live asked, "will Michael Jordan ever speak up?" we got our answer. The NBA legend penned an open letter Monday (July 25) addressing the tension between black people and the police, and he announced $1 million contributions to two organizations that support both causes.
In his letter, posted on The Undefeated, Jordan stands on the side of good sense. Yes, it's possible to firmly oppose black people being unjustly killed by law enforcement and to think officers shouldn't have to perform their jobs in fear of being killed either.
Jordan writes: "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."
The letter shows humanity and empathy from an icon often painted as callous and unconcerned about social issues. The billionaire also acknowledges his privilege, writing, "I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine."
Jordan's words come at a time when WNBA players were fined for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement (the punishment was later rescinded), and NBA legends like Charles Barkley are using respectability politics to victim-blame black people for their killings. MJ calls for the country to work toward finding solutions to address the racial tension, and his donations to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund show him leading by example.