Former basketball great Michael Jordan said in a statement on Monday that he is donating $2 million to social justice organizations in response to a number of deadly police shootings.
In a statement to ESPN’s The Undefeated, Jordan said that he was “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 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,” Jordan wrote. “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 said he will be donating $1 million each to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The Institute for Community-Police Relations provides law enforcement agencies with resources to build community trust and engagement while attempting to reduce crime. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is an organization that provides legal services for minorities and issues relating to racial equality.
The announcement is quite the change of pace for the normally apolitical Hall of Famer. Jordan famously refrained from commenting on political and social issues during his time as a player. After refusing to endorse a black Democratic senatorial candidate over an allegedly racist white Republican, Jordan notoriously quipped “Republicans buy shoes, too.”
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.