The former Chicago Bulls legend, Michael Jordan, has released a statement backing the protesters who have been demonstrating against heavy-handed police tactics after the death of Minnesotan George Floyd.
The current owner of the Charlotte Hornets is known for generally keeping quiet when it comes to political matters, something for which he has been heavily criticized for in the past.
However, it seems he was moved to make a statement regarding the death of 46-year-old African-American George Floyd, who died last Monday (May 20) after police offer Derek Chauvin was recorded kneeling on his neck.
The incident has caused numerous protests to spring up across the country, many of which have coincided with rioting and civil unrest. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder.
Michael Jordan condemns police brutality
On Sunday, Michael Jordan issued a rare statement where he condemned police brutality and called for an end to racial injustice and a change in policing methods.
A spokeswoman for Michael Jordan put out a statement to Twitter on his behalf; it read: “I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage, and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”
The basketball hero admitted to not having all the answers but asked for Americans to come together to effect meaningful change. He asked people to show empathy and compassion and to turn their backs on brutality.
He wrote: “We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy, and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions about injustice and demand accountability.
“Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws … we need to use our vote to create systemic change… to ensure justice for all.”
Regarding George Floyd, Jordan said his heart went out to the family and “the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice.”
Statement From Michael Jordan pic.twitter.com/lnXYMhtvo3
— Estee Portnoy (@esteep) May 31, 2020
Michael Jordan has been criticized for avoiding politics
Jordan has been criticized in the past for not speaking out on political issues, particularly on racial injustice. In 1990, he famously refused to endorse an African-American Democratic candidate for the Senate over a Republican incumbent who had a reputation for racism.
When asked to clarify his position, he said, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” In the recent Netflix documentary The Last Dance, he claimed to have made the comment in jest.
Michael Jordan has had an enormously successful career both on and off the basketball court. He was instrumental in helping the Bulls to win six NBA Championship titles in the 90s. He also became something of a commercial icon when Nike launched the Jordan range and is currently thought to be worth over $2 billion.