Michael Jordan’s 2016 Words Are More Important Now Than Ever: ‘Love And Respect People Regardless Of Their Race Or Background’

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Legendary basketball icon Michael Jordan shared some passionate words in 2016 as race tensions were escalating out of control.

Americans were fighting then like they are fighting now. They were marching in the streets then, like they are now, to validate the lives of minority citizens and against police brutality.

So, the insight and advice Jordan shared in 2016 is now more important than ever as the country is facing the same struggle.

The Undefeated reports Jordan called for mutual respect between protesters and the police.

“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,” he said at the time.

“Over the past three decades, I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service,” Jordan continued. “I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.”

The basketball legend explained he would be personally making financial 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,” he explained. “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.”

Jordan concluded: “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 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.”