By Monique Jones
The Birmingham Times
Basketball star Michael Jordan has finally broken his silence.
The NBA legend released a personal essay to sports news site The Undefeated. The essay, titled “I can no longer stay silent,” gives Jordan’s thoughts on the state of America when it comes to police brutality against African Americans.
“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family,” he wrote. “I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine.” Jordan wrote that he decided to use his platform to help bring Americans together.
In an effort to help America find common ground, Jordan wrote he has given $1 million contributions each to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations, which launched this year to foster a stronger bond of trust between the police and their respective communities, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which was founded by former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1940 to help African-Americans achieve due process of law. “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,” he wrote.
Jordan’s statement comes after a several celebrities, including Beyoncé, John Legend, Gabrielle Union, and several NBA, WNBA, and NFL athletes have expressed their shock and anger about the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, MN. Sterling was shot outside a convenience store at point-blank range by police after anonymous 911 about an armed man selling CDs. Castile was shot in his his car during a traffic stop. His fiancée and her four-year-old daughter were in the car with him at the time of the shooting; Castile’s fiance live-streamed the incident through Facebook Live.