Michael Jordan released a statement saying he’s “deeply saddened, truly pained, and plain angry” in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Jordan followed that by pledging $100 million toward racial equality.
Why has Jordan – who remained infamously apolitical while playing – taken such a strong stand now?
“We have been beaten down (as African Americans) for so many years. 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.”
Maybe Jordan has changed. Maybe he’s still trying to maximize his marketability in a changed world. By remaining bland politically with the Bulls, Jordan secured numerous endorsements. Now, the Knicks face criticism for not saying enough.
The distinction matters for understanding Jordan, whom we just watched a 10-part documentary on.
But in terms of Jordan doing something good with his resources and platform, it’s great either way. Motive matters only so much.