As the national debate rages over the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to remain seated for the national anthem in protest of what he perceives as the continued mistreatment of African Americans and other minorities in this country, former Texas Longhorns linebacker Emmanuel Acho weighed in with a typically thoughtful response on Monday evening via Twitter:
Here’s the full transcript of the commentary from Acho:
August 8th, while driving to Austin from Dallas to shoot a commercial, I got pulled over by a cop who had tailed me since I left the gas station 5 miles earlier. His reasoning, "going 80 in a 75, and then ‘suddenly’ slowing down to 72 miles an hour". The second I saw the flashing lights I knew I would be leaving with only a warning. For one, I had not committed any major offenses, but more importantly I knew who I was long before he did. In Austin, the last name "Acho" often grants minor immunity due to me and my brother’s performance on the football field years back. There’s a problem, however, my African American counterparts aren’t afforded this same luxury. I also can’t walk around holding a nameplate all day, or stating I have a master’s degree and went to the top private school in Texas. I’m simply seen, and judged.
I don’t know Colin Kaepernick personally, only that I sacked him once and it didn’t count because of a penalty. I do know this however, Colin being raised by a white family does not somehow allow him to transcend the color of his skin, nor did it grant him any immunity as soon as he walked out of his front door growing up. As he goes about life, he’s just another black man subject to all the inherent dangers and stereotypes that may be associated. Before you dismiss my thoughts or opinions as just another athlete that’s done nothing, understand I orchestrated a forum less than a month ago which included other professional athletes and Austin’s chief of police. ESPN’s Longhorn Network was thoughtful enough to broadcast it into 22 million households and Sports Illustrated live streamed it for several thousand more. This was my approach based on my convictions, and Colin has exercised his legal approach to the situation.
We can argue about what the flag means to each individual to no end, we can disagree on whether or not a slave owner wrote the national anthem, and we can clearly debate the disrespect associated with sitting during the anthem. However, one thing not up for debate is that blatant difference in treatment of minorities in this country. I recently saw a tweet by a white man which read, "Why do we always have to bring racial issues into things", but the reality for African Americans, racial issues never left things.
Indeed, Acho has been outspoken on social issues in the past and has even taken numerous mission trips to Nigeria to provide medical aid, including a two-week journey he chronicled for the Players’ Tribune this year.
While most athletes are told to stick to sports and avoid social commentary, Acho has already proven himself to be a catalyst for positive change after hosting the summit meeting between former Texas football players and the police.
So it’s worth listening to what he has to say.
Author’s note: Because of past issues with this community discussing sensitive issues, the comments are closed for this article. Any attempt to discuss this situation in other threads will result in a warning or being banned.