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Donald Trump can’t ‘dictate’ the perception of the NFL: Emmanuel Acho

Max Zahn with Andy Serwer
·2-min read

President Donald Trump’s re-election defeat will diminish his control in Washington D.C. but not necessarily his public platform, raising questions about his post-presidency influence on issues of interest to him such as demonstrations over racial justice in the NFL.

Kneeling protests undertaken by players during the national anthem have drawn ire from Trump throughout his presidency, even as recently as a rally in Pennsylvania on the day before the election.

In a new interview, Fox Sports host and former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho told Yahoo Finance that Trump cannot “dictate” the perception of NFL players or their protests over racial justice. Acho called on fans to inform themselves about the protests and form their own judgments.

“I don't think one person can single-handedly dictate the emotions about a collective system or organization,” said Acho, the author of a new book entitled “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” based on a YouTube series by that name that has tallied more than 65 million views since its launch in June.

“The perception of the players — I don't know that it's so much affected by the presidency,” Acho adds. “One man nor one woman should be able to dictate your feelings and emotions on oppression, injustice, and racism.”

Soon after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the kneeling protests in August 2016, Trump sharply criticized them as a “terrible thing,” saying he considered the demonstrations disrespectful toward the nation’s flag. Racial justice advocates defended the protests and criticized Trump for what some considered an effort to inflame racial resentment among his white supporters.

Over the ensuing years, Trump continued to criticize NFL players who spoke out, while Kaerpernick failed to sign on with an NFL team.

In May, after the police killing of George Floyd and a wave of racial justice protests, the NFL released a statement vowing to help address “systemic issues.” Three months later, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell directed an apology to Kaepernick while speaking to Acho on his YouTube show “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.

Acho spoke to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.

Emmanuel Acho, a Fox Sports host and former NFL linebacker, joins "Influencers with Andy Serwer."
Emmanuel Acho, a Fox Sports host and former NFL linebacker, joins "Influencers with Andy Serwer."

Acho cautioned fans to withhold judgment about the NFL player protests until they seek out information about racial justice and understand the perspective of the players.

“These are historical contexts with generational meanings,” he says. “So what one person tells you, whether it's Emmanuel Acho, whether it's the president, whoever it is, that shouldn't completely dictate your feelings about something.”

“Do your homework. Do your research. Let your own empathy be created through your own understanding,” he adds.

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