Michael Jordan finds himself in the middle of a public feud between Donald Trump and LeBron James. Jordan had nothing to do with the conflict, but was brought into the discussion after Trump criticized James in a tweet.
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” Trump tweeted.
As James continues to add accomplishments to his impressive career, comparisons to Jordan have increased. Trump seems to be referencing the Jordan versus James debate in his tweet. As for Jordan, he has done his best to stay out of the political fray throughout his career.
After the president’s tweet, some have wondered whether Jordan is a Trump supporter. Jordan issued a rare statement to the Charlotte Observer on September 24, 2017 after Trump criticized NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem.
One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest. Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized.
At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division.
I support Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA, its players and all those who wish to exercise their right to free speech.
During His Playing Days, Jordan Reportedly Said “Republicans Buy Sneakers, Too”
As the Charlotte Hornets owner, Jordan has become more vocal than he was during his playing days. Jordan often declined to weigh in on social issues and political discussions during his basketball career. There is some speculation that Jordan was silent in the past, because he feared it would hurt his business ventures away from basketball. There is much debate as to whether Jordan actually said the famous line about Republicans buying shoes. Slate broke down the history of the quote which originated in Sam Smith’s book Second Coming.
Another time, he was approached by U.S. Senate hopeful Harvey Gantt, a black politician who was running against Jesse Helms in North Carolina, Jordan’s home state. Gantt had hoped that Jordan’s name would help him defeat Helms, widely regarded as a virulent racist. But Jordan declined. He wasn’t into politics, he explained, didn’t really know the issues. And, as he later told a friend, “Republicans buy shoes, too.”
The quote has been included as an anecdote in several books, and Smith told Slate he regrets that it has followed Jordan to this day.
Smith, who now covers the Bulls for the team’s website, declined to explain the discrepancies between his two accounts. “Whatever I’ve said in those two books, that’s all I have to say about it,” he told me. Smith said he “felt badly” about how the quote had dogged Jordan throughout his life and career. He said Jordan has been judged unfairly and criticized the media for taking the original quote out of context. When asked to explain that original context and if he’d actually heard Jordan talk about Republicans and shoes, Smith said, “It was 30 years ago. I’m not getting into a discussion about that.”
Jordan Has Been Silent on Whether He Is a Republican or Democrat
Jordan has been private about his political beliefs, refusing to discuss whether he is a Republican or Democrat. However, Jordan has been outspoken about recent social issues including police brutality. On July 25, 2016, Jordan released a lengthy statement to The Undefeated about the racial tension across the country, noting he was donating $2 million to organizations to help strengthen the relationship between citizens and law enforcement.
I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.
Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.
Source: Heavy Sports