Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan released a statement Thursday, calling for the people of Charlotte to demonstrate peacefully and non-violently in the wake of the death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott earlier this week.
“In light of the tragic events of the past three days, it is more important than ever that we restore calm and come together, as a community, in peaceful demonstration and conversation, and in constructive and non-violent ways,” the former Chicago Bulls great wrote in part.
What started as a peaceful vigil for Scott in Charlotte ended in riots and violence on Wednesday night. One protester was shot, and four police officers were injured as protesters looted stores and officers shot rubber bullets.
Jordan has long been criticized for his seeming unwillingness to wade into political waters ― Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said he had chosen “commerce over conscience” ― but that appears to be changing. In July, Jordan wrote in a letter released on ESPN’s The Undefeated that he felt he could “no longer stay silent” in the wake of a series of police shootings.
“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,” Jordan wrote. “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”
Jordan’s own father, James Jordan, died in 1993 after he was found in a creek. He had been shot in the chest.