Michael Jordan once said, "Republicans buy shoes, too." when asked why he wouldn't endorse a black Democratic candidate during a senate race in the 1990's. That statement set the tone for Jordan's entire career as a social activist. He did not speak out on political views often, and for the most part stayed neutral on social issues. It was what he and the Jordan brand considered good for business.
Times have changed, and so has Jordan. Today, at The Undefeated, Jordan released a statement saying he could no longer remain silent when it comes to the many shootings taking place across America of African-Americans and police officers.
"As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been 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."
Jordan goes on to speak on his upbringing, and his desire for a world where people of color have true equality and police officers are given respect and support. Perhaps the most powerful line in his statement however, is his acknowledgment of his previous silence.
"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."
Jordan has also donated $1 million to two organizations, the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in hopes that it will move our country towards making very necessary changes.
With this statement, it appears the era of "Republicans buy shoes too" Jordan has reached its end. Do not be surprised if more athletes across the NBA — and sports as a whole — continue to use their platforms to make their voices heard.