“Michael really wanted to do something personally, he and his family, in the North Carolina area, separate from the work we’ve done with the Hornets,” Estee Portnoy, Jordan’s spokesperson, told the Observer.
In a statement, Jordan said he hoped the clinics “will help provide a brighter and healthier future for the children and families they serve.”
Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms of Jordan has been his neutrality on social and political issues. That, though, seems to be ending. The Hall of Famer spoke up when Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was forced out for racist comments in 2014, and again in the summer of 2016, when he condemned the killing of African Americans by police. Recently, with NFL players, coaches and owners choosing to make a statement during national anthems across the country, and the NBA in the spotlight because of President Trump’s “uninvite” of the Golden State Warriors to the White House, Jordan added his voice.
“One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest. Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized,” he said in a statement. “At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division. I support Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA, its players and all those who wish to exercise their right to free speech.”
In a lengthy statement given to The Undefeated in July 2016, Jordan wrote of the 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.” Jordan added that he was donating $1 million each to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country — a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities,” his Undefeated post said. “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.”
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