One week after launching Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho continued the initiative of helping his white friends, to help his black ones with a second installment of the video series.
A former NFL linebacker, current ESPN contributor and soon to be FS1 analyst, Acho’s first video took the country and even the globe by storm, amassing more than 20 million views in one week. His second video again offered a safe space for uncomfortable discussions in an effort to promote change, but as Acho stated, the goal was to create a dialogue not a monologue. With the dialogue on display, episode two featured a conversation with fellow University of Texas grad, Matthew McConaughey.
McConaughey said he joined the show “to learn, share and listen – to discuss some common grounds between us, but also expose differences between us.” The first episode offered new context, it “made me think of the why, not the how,” McConaughey told Acho.
“How can I do better, how can I do better as a man, how can I do better as a white man?” McConaughey asked.
“You have to acknowledge there’s a problem, so that you can take more ownership of the problem,” Acho responded, noting the first step to acknowledging the problem is by having this conversation.
“Individually, you have to acknowledge implicit bias, you have to acknowledge that you’ll see a black man and for whatever reason, you will view them as more of a threat than you will a white man. Probably because society told you too,” Acho said.
“You have to acknowledge that if there are two people with equal resumes, studies show that the person with the white sounding name is twice as likely to get a call back than the person with the black sounding name. You’re a very successful man who probably has several people under you, are you a part of that statistical problem?” Acho asked McConaughey.
Acho also said the most accurate and least offensive term to call a black person is ‘black,’ not African American. “There’s some black people that don’t identify as being African because that heritage got stripped from them.”
During the back and forth conversation, the Oscar winner asked Acho about the definition of equality, “it’s been an American issue forever and we continue to work and grow and evolve and debate what the definition of equality should be,” McConaughey said.
Acho answered that he doesn’t believe there’s such thing as equality. “The wake of slavery is still hitting African Americans,” Acho said, pointing to issues of systemic injustice, poor school systems and voter suppression. “Don’t feel guilty,” Acho added, “just acknowledge.”
“What’s my responsibility, what’s your responsibility?” McConaughey asked near the end of the conversation.
“People should take the responsibility proactively to say – maybe I’m a part of the problem. Maybe I can fix this issue not just by being not racist, but by being anti-racist,” Acho answered. “Maybe I can level the playing field and make it a fair fight.”
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Ryen Russillo: ‘Why Would You Talk About Politics On Your Sports Show?’
“Why would you talk about politics on your sports show? Now people could say ‘Hey this is more important. This is more important than sports’.”
Ryen Russillo joined Barstool’s Pardon My Take podcast in studio, and shared an interesting story about a sign at ESPN Radio that shaped what he talked about during his time with the network.
“When I was first at ESPN, so ’06, there was a sign up in the radio department that said ‘If what you’re talking about is not interesting to an 18-45 year old male, stop talking about it’,” Russillo revealed. “For the old rules, why would you talk about religion on your sports talk show? Why would you talk about politics on your sports show? Now people could say ‘Hey this is more important. This is more important than sports’.
“Well, no shit this stuff is more important than sports. But you know what? They don’t talk about sex trafficking on (CNBC). Because that show’s about money. Those shows are about finances and all this other stuff. Is it as important as all these other horrible things that happened? Of course it isn’t. But that’s not what the job is. So that’s where I think again — this is expanding into a much bigger deal — I’d love to talk about some of this stuff, but I know I can’t win no matter what I do.”
Later in the episode, Russillo discussed how proud he was of his Brandon Marshall interview. Russillo had confirmed former Pro Bowl wide receiver and I Am Athlete co-host Brandon Marshall to appear on his podcast. When the interview time rolled around, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall appeared on the screen. The former ESPN Radio host asked the linebacker a few questions before ending the interview. The podcast aired both interviews with both Brandon Marshall’s.
Penn National To Acquire Barstool Sports In Full
“Bloomberg reports that the two step process will be completed by February.”
Penn National Gaming made its initial investment in Barstool Sports in 2020, paying $161.2 million for a 36% stake in the content factory. Just a few years later, the casino company will acquire the remaining shares.
The relationship with Barstool has had ups and downs for Penn National.
A Business Insider report dropped in December accusing Barstool founder Dave Portnoy of sexual misconduct with multiple women caused serious headaches for Penn National. Portnoy denied any wrongdoing, saying all of the incidents detailed in the piece were consensual. He has also filed a defamation suit against the publisher.
Jay Snowden, the company’s CEO, encouraged investors to be patient. That didn’t stop the reaction though. Penn National lost over $2.5 billion in value and drew the attention of regulatory boards in Nevada and Indiana.
Still, the relationship with Barstool is one the casino company wants to keep. The company has found value in using the brand’s name to attract a younger audience to its sportsbooks. The Barstool name has been used on other venues and products inside of Penn National’s casinos as well.
Barstool podcasts and videos give Penn National a valuable, proprietary means of advertising. Plus, the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl and the Barstool Classic in Philadelphia, put Penn National in the live sports business.
Penn National has an option to acquire the rest of Barstool for another $387 million. Bloomberg reports that the two step process will be completed by February.
Dana White Calls ESPN Writer a “F—ing Scumbag”
“It wasn’t a serious interview,” White said. “It was a fun, f—ing edited piece…”
UFC president Dana White did not hold back when talking about a recent piece by ESPN, which claimed in the story headline that White said fighters would not be getting pay raises.
White did an interview with GQ last week and answered a Twitter question about UFC fighter pay. He said fighters “get paid what they’re supposed to get paid. They eat what they kill. They get a percentage of the pay-per-view buys and money is spread out amongst all the fighters.”
White prefaced those words by saying boxing is not what it used to be on account of money and other issues. “It’s never gonna happen while I’m here,” he said, which was meant to be interpreted that he would never allow pay to force the UFC to become like boxing.
“Do you think I’m going to sit here and say, ‘Fighter pay will never go up while I’m here.’ That’s the dumbest f—ing thing I’ve ever heard,” White told Yahoo Sports. “And do you know how stupid you have to be to think that’s what I said in that interview when I was talking about boxing?”
White was fired up mainly because ESPN took words he said in what was supposed to be a fun and light interview with GQ and, in his opinion, changed the context to create a more salacious story.
“It wasn’t a serious interview,” White said. “It was a fun, f—ing edited piece, and ESPN, the leader in sports, is going to write a story on fighter pay based off that f—ing video? Give me a f—ing break.”
Marc Raimondi, who covers MMA for ESPN, wrote the article in question. White didn’t know that, but he made it clear he was pissed off about the piece.
“I didn’t see the story,” White said. “I don’t even know who wrote it, but you’re not a journalist. You’re a f—ing scumbag.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.