NBA leg­end Jor­dan hits out at US gun vi­o­lence

The Myanmar Times - - World -

BAS­KET­BALL icon Michael Jor­dan, long re­luc­tant to speak out on so­cial is­sues, con­demned vi­o­lence fu­elling ris­ing racial ten­sion in the United States and pledged US$2 mil­lion to­ward ef­forts to build trust.

“I know this coun­try is bet­ter than that, and I can no longer stay silent,” Mr Jor­dan said in a let­ter re­leased via the­un­de­feated.com, a web­site backed by ESPN, on July 25.

It was a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for a su­per­star who through­out his play­ing ca­reer, in which he led the Chicago Bulls to six Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onships be­tween 1991 and 1998, was crit­i­cised for his hes­i­tance to wade in on pol­i­tics.

His un­ex­pected move was widely wel­comed.

“Change hap­pens when one Amer­i­can at a time can no longer stay silent. Thank you Michael Jor­dan for speak­ing up!” Valerie Jar­rett, a se­nior ad­viser to US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said on Twit­ter.

“DO NOT SLEEP ON MJ,” tweeted film­maker Spike Lee.

A wave of po­lice killings of African-Amer­i­cans and deadly at­tacks against po­lice of­fi­cers prompted Mr Jor­dan’s pub­lic stand.

“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,” he said.

“I grieve with the fam­i­lies who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”

His fa­ther, James, was shot dead in 1993 at a high­way rest area.

Mr Jor­dan an­nounced grants of US$1 mil­lion each to two or­gan­i­sa­tions work­ing to im­prove re­la­tions be­tween law en­force­ment and the com­mu­ni­ties in which they work – the In­sti­tute for Com­mu­nity Po­lice Re­la­tions and the NAACP Le­gal De­fence Fund. –

Photo: AFP

Michael Jor­dan says he is dis­turbed over the wave of po­lice killings of African-Amer­i­cans.

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