Michael Jordan releases statement on George Floyd's death

Caitlin O'Kane

NBA great Michael Jordan has released a statement in response to the nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality.

"I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," Jordan said in the statement, which was shared on Twitter. "I see and feel everyone's pain, outrage and frustration." The hall-of-famer's statement comes after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minnesota sparked nationwide protests.

Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/lWkZOf1Tmr

— Jordan (@Jumpman23) May 31, 2020

George Floyd died on Monday after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground, pressing his knee into Floyd's neck. Video of the incident shows Floyd pleading "I can't breathe." Four officers involved were fired, and one, Derek Chauvin, is now charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Floyd's death set off protests in Minneapolis that have now spread nationwide.

"I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough," Jordan said in his statement, which was released Sunday after several days of unrest.

"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. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. 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," he continues.

Jordan added that his heart goes out to the family of George Floyd "and the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice."

He joins a growing list of pro athletes who have spoken out following Floyd's death. 

Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick shared a statement on social media last week, saying: "When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction. The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back!" He is also supporting a legal defense initiative for those he calls "Freedom Fighters" in Minneapolis.

Kaepernick's football career was sidelined after he began protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games in 2016.

Last Tuesday, LeBron James shared side-by-side photos of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck and Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, writing: "Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you??"

The next day, the NBA star posted a 2014 photo of himself wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, "I can't breathe" following the death of Eric Garner, a black man who repeatedly said "I can't breathe" as he was placed in a fatal chokehold by an NYPD officer. They are the same words uttered by Floyd in his final moments last week. 

Fellow NBA star Stephen Curry took to Instagram to share a statement as well: "George has a family. George didn't deserve to die," Curry wrote. "George pleaded for help and was just straight up ignored, which speaks loud and clear that his black life didn't matter. George was murdered. George wasn't human to that cop that slowly and purposefully took his life away."

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Protests continue across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd

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