FILE PHOTO: Feb 24, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; NBA legend Michael Jordan speaks to the audience during the memorial to celebrate the life of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) – Basketball great Michael Jordan voiced outrage on Sunday over the death of George Floyd, a black man shown on video gasping for breath as a white policeman knelt on his neck in Minneapolis, an incident that has triggered violent nationwide protests.
Jordan said his heart went out to the family of Floyd and others who have died through acts of racism.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” Jordan, a Basketball Hall of Famer and owner of the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement. “I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration.
“I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”
The comments from Jordan came as many U.S. cities were bracing for another night of unrest after cleaning up streets strewn with broken glass and burned-out cars as curfews failed to quell confrontations between protesters and police.
Jordan, a six-time NBA champion who was at the heart of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty in the 1990s, called on people to show compassion and empathy and never turn their backs on senseless brutality.
“We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability,” said Jordan. “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.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Cooney