Michael Jordan put out a statement calling for systemic change in response to the death of George Floyd.”I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country,” Jordan said. “We have had enough.”The statement came amid others from athletes across the sports world in calling for change since Floyd’s death on Monday.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Michael Jordan called for systemic change in a statement on the death of George Floyd.Floyd died on Monday night after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes as Floyd pleaded for his life. Since his death, protests against police brutality have taken place in cities across the United States.”I am deeply saddened, truly pained, and plain angry,” Jordan said. “I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage, and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”Jordan went on to call for compassion and collective action, demanding accountability in the justice system.
“I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others,” Jordan said. “We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability.”Jordan called for Americans to push for change with a “unified voice” to pressure political leaders for systemic change. “Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change,” Jordan said. “Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.””My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and to the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice,” Jordan wrote.
Jordan has been criticized in the past for his wariness to weigh in on politically charged topics, an issue that was examined in parts of the ESPN documentary series “The Last Dance” that aired in April.In 1990, Jordan famously refused to endorse Harvey Gantt to become the first black senator to represent North Carolina over Republican incumbent Jesse Helms. The quote “Republicans buy sneakers too,” would later be attributed to Jordan as his given reasoning for staying out of the political fray.”I do commend Muhammad Ali for standing up for what he believed in,” Jordan said in an episode of “The Last Dance,” addressing why he held back from taking political stances. “But I never thought of myself as an activist. I thought of myself as a basketball player. I wasn’t a politician when I was playing my sport. I was focused on my craft. Was that selfish? Probably. But that was my energy. That’s where my energy was.”With his statement on Floyd’s death, Jordan joined a wide range of athletes that have spoken out for justice for the Minnesota man in the week since his death. Many athletes, including Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James, shared statements on social media.
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was a personal friend of Floyd’s, gave an emotional speech in Minneapolis to a collection of reporters and demonstrators.On Sunday, three Bundesliga players dedicated their goals to Floyd, with Dortmund teammates Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi writing “Justice for George Floyd” on their undershirts and Gladbach forward Marcus Thuram taking a knee after scoring. On Saturday, Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, an American who plays for the USMNT, paid tribute to Floyd by writing “Justice for George” on his armband.Several NBA players have also taken part in protests around the country, with Celtics guard Jaylen Brown driving 15 hours from Boston to join a march in Atlanta.”I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community,” Brown said, per ESPN. “This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player, don’t exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community … We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices that we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK.”
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Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, and more athletes from across the sports world respond to the death of George Floyd