(CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Emmanuel Acho is making his most impressive duel six years after his last game in the NFL.
The former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and standout Texas Longhorns has seen a spectacular rise, starting with his desire to fight racism.
Acho celebrated his 30th birthday this week with the official publication of his book: “Inconvenient Conversations with a Black Man.”
His YouTube series of the same name has already garnered over 65 million views in five months.
“I just hope people realize that they actually have the ability and that it is up to them to at least change the world, change their world,” Acho said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “My goal for this book is that you don’t have to change the mind of the person in a neighboring state in order to facilitate your neighbor’s mind. Change the mind of the person in the next bedroom. Let’s do that and see the ripple effect. “
Acho started his video series in response to the death of George Floyd. His guests included actor Matthew McConaughey and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Acho’s conversations with prominent white men about racism in America caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey. She called Acho and they turned the video series into a hardcover book published by her masthead.
“I didn’t do this out of fame. I didn’t do this for followers. I didn’t do this for books. I didn’t do this for Oprah, ”Acho said. “I did it because I was devastated as a black man after the tragic murder of George Floyd. I was upset. My heart has been broken And I went around my house and said, “I have to do something. My god didn’t bring me to this earth just to talk about soccer and LeBron James’ highlight dunks. “
Acho, the host of FS1’s “Speak for Yourself”, grew up in Texas as the son of Nigerian immigrants. He was drafted in the sixth round of Cleveland from Texas in 2012 and played 20 games with the Eagles in 2013/14. His brother Sam Acho played linebacker for Arizona, Chicago and Tampa Bay from 2011-19.
Acho covers topics in the book that range from white privileges to interracial families. He recalls defending himself against the bullying of a teammate in Philadelphia in a chapter on reverse racism.
“There is no such thing as reverse racism. Racism can exist, but reverse racism is a man-made concept of nothing, ”Acho said. “I’m telling the story of my sophomore year in Philly. There is a defense attorney. He just didn’t like me for some reason, very different. I don’t really go out. He’s a guy who goes out. I am a little more reserved. It’s a little louder whatever the case. And finally, one day after training, I say to him: “You are the worst team-mate in team-mate history.”
“Imagine how silly it would sound if someone said, ‘Emmanuel, you were a reverse tyrant. ‘No, I just stood up for myself. Let’s not confuse the blacks, the browns, who stand up against oppression, systemic injustice and racism. Let’s not confuse this with reverse racism. If blacks are prejudiced against whites, it is racism. But reverse racism doesn’t make sense. “
Acho also commended the NFL for its social justice initiatives and stays in touch with Goodell’s team.
“I don’t think racial reconciliation is a finish line that we’re going to cross,” said Acho. “I think it’s a road we’ll ride and I’m just glad the NFL is now choosing to ride that road. Some people may judge the NFL for the pace they are traveling at, but I’m glad we choose this street because, unlike a football game, we are unable to look up and say, ‘Touchdown, we met against racism. ‘ But we have to say, “OK, we’re marching, we’re marching, we’re marching down the field. Let’s all just march down the field for reconciliation. ‘“
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
MORE FROM CBSDFW