Emmanuel Acho's two-part conversation with the NFL commissioner drops Aug. 23 and 24 on YouTube

By Jason Duaine Hahn
August 21, 2020 03:22 PM
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Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty; Rich Graessle/PPI/Icon Sportswire via Getty

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is in the hot seat for the next episode of Emmanuel Acho's Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.

Acho, a former NFL linebacker, spoke with Goodell for the popular YouTube show that dives into topics of social issues and race. Goodell, who is entering his 14th year as commissioner of the league, faced criticism for his handling of the #TakeAKnee movement, which was famously sparked by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he refused to stand during the national anthem before NFL games in protest of police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.

"Personally, I’ve watched prominent figures like the Commissioner stand at the podium or address members of the media in times of crisis,” Acho said in a statement sent to PEOPLE.

“I wanted to have an uncomfortable conversation with Roger Goodell, the person, to delve into his personal perspective and how events in time have impacted his life, and what we can expect from him in the future," he added. "You won’t be disappointed."

In May 2018, NFL owners voted unanimously to approve a policy that would fine teams for players who kneel during the national anthem. But that decision was later postponed, according to Rolling Stone, after reports that the Miami Dolphins threatened to fine players for four games if they took a knee.

Kaepernick has not been signed by an NFL team since leaving the San Francisco 49ers — a franchise he led to a Super Bowl — in 2016.

With the Black Lives Matter getting renewed attention following the death of George Floyd in May, Goodell in June apologized to players who kneeled during the national anthem.

"[We] admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," he said in part.

According to a press release, Acho — an FS1 Sports Analyst and co-host of Speak for Yourself — asks Goodell a number of questions centered on race, including what he'd say if he apologized to Kaepernick, and the lessons he learned since Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck.

The first part of the Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man featuring Goodell will premiere on Acho's social media channels — including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. The second video will be released on Monday at the same time.

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In June, Goodell said for the first time that he "welcomes" Kaepernick's return to the NFL, in any capacity.

"Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's going to take a team to make that decision," Goodell told ESPN. "But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that."

"If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space," he continued, "we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities."