US & Canada

Michael Jordan speaks out on US race violence, pledging $2m

This file photo taken on June 14, 2015 shows US former basketball player Michael Jordan he attends the inauguration of a street basketball court in the Haies sports ground in Paris. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Michael Jordan's father was shot dead in 1993 by two car thieves.

Basketball star Michael Jordan has spoken out about racial tensions in the US, pledging $2m (£1.5m; €1.8m) to two charities to help improve relations.

The former Chicago Bulls player, who was criticised during his career for not addressing political issues, said he could "no longer stay silent".

Jordan's father, James Jordan, was shot dead in 1993 at a roadside rest stop.

He said recent police shootings and subsequent targeting of police officers had prompted him to speak out.

"I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent," Jordan told theundefeated.com, a website backed by ESPN.

"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," he said.

"I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well."

Jordan will donate $1m each to two charities working to improve relations between police and communities - the Institute for Community Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defence Fund.

"Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference," he said.

The US has been rattled by a series of high-profile shootings of black people by police, and earlier this month the murder of five Dallas police officers.

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