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‘Hyperbolic’ to compare unpaid college sports to slavery: Emmanuel Acho

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Former NFL player and 'Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man' author, Emmanuel Acho, joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss whether college atheletes should be paid.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: Let me ask you a little bit about college football and whether the players there should be paid. And some people have compared them not being paid, which is then-- and they're largely Black players too-- sort of a slavery system or at least being insensitive. Is that right to say?

EMMANUEL ACHO: It's a little hyperbolic, probably a lot of hyperbolic to compare really anything to slavery. But comparison is having workers make minimal to no money, while those who may or working for are benefiting severely off the labor of the employees, as really the same parallel that's been drawn in the NFL. You have your owners making billions of dollars and your players on average are making $800,000.

Well, you're making $800,000. How can you compare this to slavery? Because look at 800,000 compared to a billion, right. That would be $0.08 or something like that onto the dollar or 0.00, whatever the case may be. And so it's always hyperbolic when you're making the slavery comparison, but I do think that college players should be paid.

ANDY SERWER: Right. It's just-- it's inequity, whether it's inequity in college or the NFL. What about corporate America, Emanuel? What can business people learn from sports in terms of addressing racial injustice?

EMMANUEL ACHO: Business people can learn to create the common goal. What is the common goal? And you don't even have to think about football.

Think about the Olympics. That's something we all get behind. At the Olympics, you'll see people decked out in their USA gear and whatnot, cheering on athletes that they don't know, women's soccer, men's soccer, track and field. Why? Because they're all banding behind the country to win over another country.

You figured out the common opponent. What-- what corporations can realize is, wait a second, what is our common goal? And let's all as a company get behind our common goal. That's the only way people can look past their differences.