Sports Spectrum Weekly

Former NFL LB Emmanuel Acho having 'Esther moment' as faith guides him in racial conversations

As conversations about racial reconciliation continue across the country in light of the death of George Floyd, former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho has emerged as one the most prominent voices in the quest to break down barriers and promote harmony, all while remaining centered in Christ.

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Acho, who recently left his analyst role with ESPN to join FOX Sports, appeared on Thursday’s episode of “The Home Team,” a faith-based podcast hosted by Steve Carter, Sam Ponder and Emmanuel’s brother, Sam Acho, to talk about his faith and his many efforts to encourage racial unity. As Emmanuel Acho has gained newfound fame, he also believes he has seen exactly what God has called him to do.

“Everything has culminated at once, very similar to my ‘Esther moment’ in the Bible. ‘Who knows whether or not you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ (paraphrase of Esther 4:14). This has been my time. This has been my moment,” he said.

Acho has made numerous national television appearances to share his thoughts on America’s race problem and the bumpy path toward healing. He has even begun a video series called “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” that has taken the Internet by storm and even featured celebrity Matthew McConaughey.

The website for the video series says, “Racism is not a virus of the body; it is a virus of the mind, and unfortunately, it can be lethal.

“But you cannot fix a problem that you do not know you have. And if ‘ignorance is bliss,’ in this case, bliss has caused bondage and pain for others. But there is a fix. We can all access the life-saving medicine that will cure the world’s most ailing, long-lasting pandemic. But in order to access it, we’re going to have to have some uncomfortable conversations.”

In Episode 2, McConaughey asked Acho what he can do to help as a white man.

“You have to acknowledge that there’s a problem,” Acho said, “so that you can take more ownership for the problem.”

Later, Acho explained that the “Black Lives Matter” slogan doesn’t mean that all lives don’t matter.

“What I propose is that once we get these black lives that are being ended unjustly handled by the grace of God, if we can get those handled through conversations like these … then we can be at a point to focus on everything else,” he said.

Acho’s whirlwind week has also included an announcement that he would be leaving ESPN to join FOX Sports and co-host the show “Speak for Yourself.”

Yet even as Acho’s past couple of weeks have been filled to the brim, and other celebrities and media outlets are clamoring for his attention, he knows that lasting rest and true fulfillment come in a relationship with Christ. He and his brother appeared on Episode 5 of the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2017.

In a text exchange with Sports Spectrum’s Jason Romano on Friday, Acho said his recent activity has ultimately been through God’s strength and for God’s glory.

“There is often a difference between your career and your calling, and it’s clear that God has led me to my calling over the last 10 days. I have been blessed to be a blessing and use my voice for the betterment of the world and the glory of God.

“As the Holy Spirit continues to lead me, I will follow. Most importantly, [I recite] Jesus’ words from Matthew 10:20 before every video, ‘It is not you who speaks, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.'”

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