Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 13 July 2020

Basketball legend Michael Jordan pledges $100m to support racial equality

Chicago Bulls superstar said he was 'deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry' by events in the United States

Michael Jordan is making a $100 million donation to groups fighting for racial equality and social justice. AFP
Michael Jordan is making a $100 million donation to groups fighting for racial equality and social justice. AFP

Basketball superstar Michael Jordan and his Nike-backed Jordan Brand are pledging to donate $100 million (Dh367m) over the next 10 years to support racial equality and social justice.

The promise comes five days after Jordan said "we have had enough" when it comes to racism in the United States.

"Black lives matter. This isn't a controversial statement," read the joint statement from Jordan and his company on Friday. "Until the ingrained racism that allows our country's institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people."

Part of the initiative involves creating greater access to education.

"Through our Jordan Wings Program, we have been focused on providing access to education, mentorship and opportunity for Black youth facing the obstacles of systemic racism. But we know we can do more," Jordan Brand president Craig Williams said in a statement.

"There is still more work for us to do to drive real impact for the Black Community. We embrace the responsibility."

The Jordan Brand pledge was preceded earlier on Friday by Nike announcing a "Commitment to the Black Community" plan in which $40 million would be pledged collectively by Nike, Converse and Jordan Brand.

"Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society," Nike president and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement.

Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and was a five-time MVP and 14-time All-Star.

Earlier in the week, he expressed his thoughts on the death of George Floyd, a black man who died May 25 in Minneapolis after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

"I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," Jordan's statement began. "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 colour in our country. We have had enough.

"I don't have the answers, but our collective voices show strength, and the inability to be divided by others.

"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.

"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. 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."

Updated: June 6, 2020 09:34 AM

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