Charlotte, North Carolina, 1 June 2020 (tca/dpa/MIA) – Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan says he is “deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the civil unrest that has followed.
Jordan, the only African-American majority owner of an NBA franchise, issued a statement Sunday through the Hornets.
“I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration,” said Jordan. “I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”
Floyd died after a white Minneapolis policeman held his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Floyd was African American. He was handcuffed, and was heard to say, “I can’t breathe” before dying.
The officer who knelt on Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was arrested Friday and has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
“My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and to the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice,” said Jordan, who grew up in Wilmington [a port city in North Carolina] before becoming a college star at [the University of] North Carolina.
Outrage over Floyd’s death set off waves of protest around the country, including North Carolina. There were angry demonstrations in Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville and Greensboro. Mecklenburg County declared a state of emergency.
There was similar unrest in uptown Charlotte in 2016, after the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Spectrum Center, where the Hornets play, sustained heavy damage during the rioting that occurred then.
“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,” Jordan said.
Jordan joined numerous figures in pro and college sports over the weekend speaking on civil justice following Floyd’s death.
“We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability,” Jordan said.
“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.”