Former Bulls superstar Michael Jordan wasn’t much for making statements about political and racial issues when he played. But Jordan, who now owns the Hornets, couldn’t keep quiet about former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being charged with killing George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by kneeling on his neck after an arrest last week, despite Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.
‘‘I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,’’ Jordan said in a statement released Sunday by the Hornets. ‘‘I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color 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.’’
The NBA always has prided itself on fighting against racism and the injustices caused by it, and the Bulls are doing their part, too. Chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf and wife Nancy also released a statement in the wake of the deaths of Floyd and other young African Americans in recent weeks.
‘‘The events of the past weeks have been disturbing and challenging for us all,’’ the Reinsdorfs said in the statement. ‘‘The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery . . . were gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. The Bulls organization sends our condolences to these families who have been caused unthinkable grief and to all those who suffer because of these terrible incidents. . . .
‘‘We are angry, sad and confused. Racism in any form is wrong, and what we see happening makes us want to take action. We know that’s the same for a lot of people. But anger isn’t about destruction. Lawless actions won’t bring better understanding, and they don’t honor the lives that have been lost. We should use our energy and efforts to come together to build a better Chicago that stands for equality and justice for all.
‘‘There is a crisis in our country, and we need to redouble our efforts and work harder than ever. We have to rise above our differences and come together to effect real change for the future; otherwise, we’re going to see the past repeat itself again. We have to listen to each other, act with love and be intentional and relentless in our pursuit of a better world. It is time. We at the Chicago Bulls organization are committed to working together to stand for real change. We can do this together.’’