Michael Jordan is known for many things -- being one of the best basketball players of all time, first and foremost, but also for his marketing savvy and business acumen: In 2015, he qualified for Forbes' billionaire list, mostly due to his lucrative, decades-long partnership with Nike.
He is not, however, known for getting political, something that's garnered Jordan criticism in the past. Which makes it that much more notable that the athlete/businessman decided to speak up in an open, remarkably even-handed letter published on ESPN's blog The Undefeated today.
Noting that he'd made $1 million contributions to both the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and "the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations," Jordan mentions the violent loss of his own father before commenting on both the disproportionate deaths of people of color at the hands of law enforcement and "the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers."
“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," writes Jordan. "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."