Michael Jordan broke character Sunday when he commented directly and forcefully on problems in American society.
The basketball and marketing legend made a three-paragraph statement, released through manager Estee Portnoy, in which he lamented the “ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country.” He also expressed sympathy for the survivors of people “whose lives have been brutally.and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice.”
MORE: Goodell tries to speak out, gets checked with Kaepernick history
Jordan mentioned George Floyd by name. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died Monday after a former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kept his knee on Floyd’s neck and back area for more than eight minutes after taking Floyd into custody for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.
The circumstances of Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests and rioting that continued into Sunday. Chauvin was fired and then arrested on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
This is not Jordan’s first statement against police killings, but his first, in 2016 to The Undefeated, was far more measured.
“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,” Jordan writes in a one-page letter released exclusively to The Undefeated. “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”
Jordan has been famously reticent about using his icon status to support causes or call out perceived wrongdoing. His neutrality has angered a large portion of the black community for close to four decades, dating to his rise as an NBA superstar.
In the recently concluded ESPN documentary/authorized biography “The Last Dance,” Jordan addressed his famous line that “Republicans buy sneakers, too,” which became an issue in the 1990 North Carolina U.S. Senate race between white incumbent Jesse Helms and black challenger Harvey Gantt. Jordan said in an interview for the documentary that he made the statement in jest to teammates and that he didn’t need to “correct” it.
Jordan did not endorse Gantt. He said in the documentary that he contributed to Gantt’s campaign. Gantt lost by 100,000 votes.
For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News. Also, if you like our efforts, consider sharing this story with your friends, this will encourage us to bring more exciting updates for you.