I've always had a sincere amount of respect for BET's Jeff Johnson. Jeff is usually on the speaking circuit one step ahead of me, and he has a profound message that the country seems to appreciate. I first met Jeff when we were on CNN together. We were debating whether college athletes should be paid. The NCAA exploits the heck out of black America by stripping the labor rights from college athleteswhile signing multibillion dollar deals. The NCAA earns more money duringMarch Madness than the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball earn during their post-season play, mostly on the backs of African American labor. In fact, the NCAA takes hundreds of millions per year out of the black community by not compensating athletes, and many of the athletes are not being properly educated.
I spent time with Jeff's daughter backstage at the CNN show. She is an intelligent young woman who loves to take pictures. We became best friends for our 30 minutes of hanging out, and, as expected, Jeff has raised her to be an outstanding human being. The next time I hung out with Jeff personally was at the "Measuring the Movement" forum, hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City. Jeff and I were backstage with the other panelists, including NAACP President Ben Jealous, Urban League President Marc Morial, Democratic Whip James Clyburn, Michael Eric Dyson, Charles Ogletree, Roland Martin, Tom Joyner, Judge Greg Mathis and many others. It was a fun ride, and I respect everyone who came out. Jeff's contributions to the panel were outstanding.