NBA Great Jordan Calls Out 'Cowardly' Targeting of Police

"I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse."

NBA legend Michael Jordan has released a statement declaring that he can "no longer stay silent" over police violence nor the killing of cops. He has also divided a $2 million donation across two organizations to help in the fight.

Via 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.

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.

Jordan commended the dedication of law enforcement officers, many of whom have protected him and his family during his career. At the same time, he recognizes that his experiences with cops may have been different from other blacks. His purpose, he states, is to encourage "peaceful dialogue and education" in order to bring Americans of all backgrounds together.

To that end, he has made this financial contribution:

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.

"We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities," the statement concluded. "The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”

In 1993, Jordan's father, James Jordan Sr., was shot and killed by two young, black and violent criminals as he lay sleeping in his Lexus on the side of the road. What was supposed to be a robbery, resulted in Jordan Sr.'s death and subsequent dumping of his body in a swamp in South Carolina. The man who pulled the trigger, Daniel Andre Green, paraded around in the dead man's jewelry, all gifts from his son, including a replica NBA championship ring, in the days after the murder. Green later converted to Islam and changed his name to Lord Dannayaal As-Saddiq Al-Amin Salaam U'allah.