Last week, the former Chicago Bulls star pledged — alongside Nike’s Jordan Brand — to donate $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to promoting social justice.
Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, protests have spread across the US and around the world to highlight racial inequality. Floyd was killed after being pinned to the ground by a police officer who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
“We have been beaten down [as African Americans] for so many years,” Jordan, a 14-time NBA all-star and principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets, said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer.
“It sucks your soul. You can’t accept it anymore. This is a tipping point. We need to make a stand. We’ve got to be better as a society regarding race.
“Face up to your demons. Extend a hand. Understand the inequalities. Sure, it’s about bargaining for better police, but it’s more. We have encountered racism to be somewhat acceptable in certain circles.”
Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted a response to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday, who said last week that the league was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier” and that it would “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
In 2018, the NFL announced that all players on the field should “stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem” before games.
“Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?” Trump said on Twitter.
A glaring omission in Goodell’s statement was no mention of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who began kneeling to protest police brutality in 2016. Kaepernick has been unassigned to a team since 2017.
U.S. Soccer is considering repealing its policy which requires national team players to stand during the anthem, according to a report in ESPN.
The report says that discussions about the new policy take place on Tuesday ahead of a formal vote that is expected on Friday.
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe sparked the policy change when she kneeled in solidarity with Kaepernick in 2016.