Michael Jordan Comments on Donations to Civil Rights and Community-Police Groups

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2016

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan celebrates in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards  in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. The Hornets won 101-87. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Associated Press

Charlotte Hornets owner and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan has announced two $1 million donations to organizations aimed at improving relations between police officers and citizens.

In a letter released Monday to Mike Wise, Jerry Bembry and Martenzie Johnson of The Undefeated, Jordan wrote:

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.

Jordan, 53, will donate $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The International Association of Chiefs of Police announced the launch of its community relations arm in May amid social unrest following the high-profile deaths of multiple black citizens in recent years.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has been in place for decades to help fight for racial justice and protect civil rights.

"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," Jordan wrote.

Jordan's donation comes a little less than two weeks after LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul opened the 2016 ESPYs with a plea to athletes to use their status to speak on such issues.

Per ESPN.com news services, James said:

Let's use this moment as a call to action to all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence and, most importantly, go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better.

Anthony later gave his thoughts when asked about Jordan's comments, via Arash Markazi of ESPN:

Charlotte was stripped of the 2017 All-Star Game last week as the NBA expressed displeasure with North Carolina's House Bill 2—the so-called bathroom bill that is seen as discriminatory toward members of the LGBT community. The NBA said it hopes to reschedule the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte.

"While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2," the league said.

Jordan released a statement saying the team was "disappointed" but ultimately understood the NBA's decision. The announcement of these donations was delayed, according to a spokeswoman for Jordan, because he "did not want his announcement to take away from the focus on the LGBT community," per The Undefeated.

"I applaud Michael Jordan for these donations," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The Undefeated. "His championing of important social issues including fundamental civil and human rights carries enormous impact in communities everywhere."

    

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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