The recent tragic deaths of both citizens and police have generated calls for action from some of basketball's biggest stars. On Monday, the greatest of all-time weighed in.
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who has long stayed out of tense, politically charged events, issued a statement to ESPN's The Undefeated in which he calls for unity and compassion:
"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."
In an effort to spur change, Jordan is donating millions from his fiancial empire to organizations that look to build bridges between police and the communities they protect, as well as to the legal defense of those who might otherwise be disadvantaged in getting a fair outcome from the justice system:
"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. The Institute for Community-Police Relations' policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation's oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. 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."
Full story at FoxSports.com.