Sam Acho Wishes More White Athletes Would Speak Up

Joe Burrow, Carson Wentz and others have been outspoken in their support of the black community, but more players need to come forward

Zach Gelb
June 02, 2020 - 8:08 am
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As protests continue around the United States and throughout the world in response to the death of George Floyd, several prominent NFL players, including Joe Burrow, Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz, have been outspoken in their support of the black community.

NFL linebacker Sam Acho appreciates this support, but he has one request.

“I wish there were more,” Acho said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I think a lot of people think, ‘I got to say the right thing. I have to have a perfect response.’ I think with that thought process inherently comes a fear of saying the wrong thing. ‘Well, I don’t want to say the wrong thing.’ But the problem with that, the reward – if you want to call it that – the reward for your fear is silence. And with that silence, a lot of people say, comes compliance. You are essentially saying to the people who are the racists and who are the extremists, the white nationalists – the people who think that America is just for the white male and the white man – by you not saying anything or waiting . . . you’re essentially saying, ‘Hey, guys, go ahead.’ 

“So I applaud Joe Burrow, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz,” Acho continued. “But I wish there were more people who just spoke up and spoke out and said, ‘Hey, I don’t know what the solution is, but I empathize.' Step 1 is to educate yourself, whether through history or through experience. And Step 2, which comes after Step 1, is to empathize. You can’t empathize unless you understand and educate. Once you understand American history, and even personal history – I’ve been profiled multiple times going through white neighborhoods where supposedly I didn’t belong.”

Acho, 31, recalled experiences where he was the victim of “DWB,” which stands for “Driving While Black.”

“I was in my neighborhood where I grew up, and it was a nice neighborhood and I got pulled over for no reason,” Acho said. “So understanding that these stories aren’t just specific stories for one or two people; it’s an entire compilation of African Americans at every level who are going through this. So I think Step 2 is you have to be able to empathize with their stories.”