Dear Culture

WTF: The BS High Story

Episode 61

The wild story of the fake Ohio high school Bishop Sycamore, who was playing football games despite not being a real school, has people shook. How could something like this happen? Who’s to blame? Why is Roy Johnson not in jail? Panama Jackson is joined by podcaster and former LSU athlete player Corey Wilson to dive into the madness and discuss why America’s unhealthy obsession with sports is central to this scandal.


Panama Jackson [00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified. What’s going on everybody and welcome to Dear Culture. The podcast for, by and about the culture. Today on Dear Culture, we’re going to talk about none other than what has to be one of the most popular documentaries on streaming services right now. BS High, a documentary about the scam god himself, Roy Johnson. My guest today, I’m sure knows all the answers, Corey Wilson, who was one of my partners from the Ill Informed Homies podcast and a fellow shenanigan enthusiast. Somebody who, whenever there is tomfoolery afoot, I know Corey is never too far behind. So first off, how you doing, bro?

Corey Wilson [00:00:50] Doing great, man. Like, you know, trying to get over this LSU loss, but other than that doing great.

Panama Jackson [00:00:56] LSU was a tough loss this week. But, you know, at least you lost to a real team. So that’ll that’ll help when you beat beat the brakes off everybody else. But the SEC is always difficult.

Corey Wilson [00:01:05] Yes. Got to see the season plays out.

Panama Jackson [00:01:08] We’ll see how it goes. But speaking of seasons playing out, Bishop Sycamore High. BS High, a high school that doesn’t really exist.

BS High [00:01:17] I think I’m the most honest liar that I know. How can you coach kids and you know it’s not a school. Roy would tell people you’re going to be playing at Alabama. He was just selling me a dream. Ohio was embarrassed by this. They called the thing explicitly a scam and then said they couldn’t do a damn thing about it.

Panama Jackson [00:01:39] This documentary, which is on Max is about Roy Johnson and a program he built that didn’t actually is like it existed on paper to some degree. And even that seems kind of shady. He’s a man who delusionally decided he wanted to be a football coach and wanted to build football programs and scammed his way through this, but was so good at it. He managed to scam his way onto ESPN against IMG Academy, which is a well-known, you know, football powerhouse, sports powerhouse sports school. Everybody who’s into, you know, high school sports and prep school sports is familiar with IMG. And that is the moment that blew the whole thing open, because once they saw once people saw the breaks getting beat off his Bishop Sycamore squad in this game, everybody was wondering how they got there in the first place. And then everybody started to pay attention. And this is something that had, his programs had been running since like 2018. Somehow he gets all the way through 2021 before people realize he is a man who’s running a school football program without a school attached to it in a real traditional sense of, well, any any real sense. So let’s start at the top. Roy Johnson, who was the man behind this, is he on the Mount Rushmore of scammers?

Corey Wilson [00:03:02] Oh, definitely. I think who also be on there.

Panama Jackson [00:03:06] So I don’t know who else belongs on there, but I know he has to have a spot. That’s how I feel.

Corey Wilson [00:03:11] Sure. You know, he did come up with that classic name Loophole Leroy, which I thought was fantastic. And I like that. That’s a great loophole. Leroy. He may need like his own show or  podcast called Loophole Leroy. Yeah, he’s definitely like, I think that the magnitude of the scam he pulled off like he’s got to put him up there, got to put him on there. Because this ain’t stuff  that people would even normally like think possibly, you know, like credit card scams and stuff like that. That’s everyday stuff that everybody’s doing, creating fake schools and playing games on ESPN like this is new level scamming.

Panama Jackson [00:03:48] That’s what I enjoyed about the doc. They kept talking about how the reason he didn’t break any laws is because nobody thought this was a law that needed to be put on the books. Nobody thought you needed to say you cannot create a football team for a high school that doesn’t exist and treat it like a high school in schedule game. Like nobody thought this was something you had to legislate.

Corey Wilson [00:04:11] Yeah, and you know, that was the most surprising part to me is that he was able to get away with this because he actually didn’t break any laws. You would think there’s got to be a law against some of this.

Panama Jackson [00:04:21] Something got to be illegal. Like it’s it’s illegal. Like it’s it’s all just wrong. But it ain’t illegal.

Corey Wilson [00:04:28] It ain’t illegal.

Panama Jackson [00:04:29] But it ain’t illegal. That’s dumbfounding. The fact that he’s able to do this be a part of this documentary. Let’s actually start there. So I’m amazed that he’s willing to do this documentary in the first place. This shows how much of a narcissist he really is. Right. Like. They mentioned on this doc that he probably thinks he won by having his story told. He called himself a legend in like the first minute of the doc. He’s like the legend of Roy Johnson. Time for a quick break. Stay with us. And we’re back. Like, what were your first thoughts when you started watching this doc, bro?

Corey Wilson [00:05:11] So, like, early on and I was like, Why did he participate in that? He clearly has like no legal team, no publicist is like, he’s like, admitting to fraud. Like, lying to people, not paying people. Like. Like there’s no reason to ever talk about this on camera.

Panama Jackson [00:05:28] At all.

Corey Wilson [00:05:30] You just never know what people can dig up. I would have never spoke on this topic, ever. You couldn’t pay me if I was him. But the fact that he did it, I mean that, like you said, that’s a new level of narcissism, bro. Like he’s crazy. Clearly has no legal advice going.

Panama Jackson [00:05:46] Yeah. I couldn’t get over the fact that and even they again, they mentioned this. He’s going to be the first person or the next in a lot of people to fall on their sword, like in a documentary and basically tell all of his frauds and everything just because he wants he thinks he’s worthy of having his story told to begin with.

Corey Wilson [00:06:07] Right.

Panama Jackson [00:06:07] But strangely enough, he’s on there early on talking about do I look like a con man? Nobody wants to answer that question. Nobody wants to say yes. But everybody’s like, Yeah, of course you you look but you look crazy, bro. And he’s he’s legitimately delusionally is just like I mean, I need to make sure I look good. Like I look trustworthy.

Corey Wilson [00:06:27] Right? Yeah, that was crazy. The fact that he would ever speak on this. I would have been no commenting throughout this thing. I wouldn’t have had a comment on none of this stuff.

Panama Jackson [00:06:40] So here’s a big picture question that I that I had. Is this just proof of how flawed the system is that you can literally,  like nobody’s paying attention, right? You can literally house kids in a hotel and move them from hotel to hotel. Once your free three months is run out of your scamming the hotel out of there like. Lack of food, lack of facilities, lack of. I don’t like how, in your mind, how was he able to pull this off like. Because there were other adults involved that helped pull this off. There were other coaches. I don’t know how they were getting paid, like I don’t know how anybody was getting paid during all of this because there didn’t seem to be any source of income.

BS High [00:07:24] My philosophy in business is do what the people who have the money do. Even if you don’t have the money.

Panama Jackson [00:07:30] How was he able to do this for so long? Like, that’s the part that I couldn’t understand who was backing this enough to keep this afloat.

Corey Wilson [00:07:37] So, you know, I’ve talked to people about this and and I think, you know, everybody has like, I guess, different people that they blame the most. I would say I place a lot of the blame here on the kids.

Panama Jackson [00:07:52] Interesting.

Corey Wilson [00:07:53] Yeah. I think the kid’s are at fault. I think the parents are also.

Panama Jackson [00:07:59] I’m 100% blame the parents. Actually, blame Roy. I blame Roy and then I blame the other the other adults in the room, which includes the parents.

Corey Wilson [00:08:07] Right.

Panama Jackson [00:08:08] And the coaching staff and anybody who was a part of this and was like, I’m going to let this go because of his vision.

Corey Wilson [00:08:17] Like, so some of the parents, you know, I guess that sent their kids off to him. So maybe they don’t really have like eyes on the program, but they can’t really see the day to day thing that maybe the kids are communicating the situation accurately to them. I’m going to assume that that’s why they didn’t throw in the towel on this. But there was like a lady who was like the quarterback’s mom. She was there on site, like she’s working at the game and still allowing her son to participate in this like you would definitely known. So anyone who.

Panama Jackson [00:08:48] 100 percent.

Corey Wilson [00:08:49] Any adults that were on site and actually saw this firsthand. They they definitely have high culpability. Like, that’s crazy.

Panama Jackson [00:08:57] Yeah. The two parents, the two team mothers that they had on there, I couldn’t believe they agreed to do this because while they’re telling the story of their lack, their inability to understand it, I’m like, Yo, you sent your kids into the lion’s den. Like you were present enough to be on the field when a kid tears his ACL. Like you’re there. So you’re seeing, you know that this is not an.

Corey Wilson [00:09:23] There’s no doctor to help him out, you know, like the kid tears his ACL and there’s no doctor to help him out. He just laying there. You know, there’s no trainer on the staff like you see that. You see kids sharing helmets, which is actually like illegal. You know, and none of this says, I’m at least pulling my kid out this. Like I don’t know what ya’ll are doing but I’m at least going to pull my kids.

Panama Jackson [00:09:45] That’s what dumbfounded me. I can understand you looking at other people’s kids to some degree and be like their parents signed off on this. But your son, you said your son did not have a certified helmet. A helmet that should be used. He was using his high school helmet. Why are you allowing your child to be here? And then why are you on this documentary talking about driving Roy to go get a check from Kinko’s?

Corey Wilson [00:10:10] I can tell you why she allowed her son to be there. And I could say why all the kids are there. And I think the big picture is like we just like glamorize like being an athlete so much and being a professional athlete, so much that people will go to any lenght to have an opportunity at that goal. You see people are willing to put up with anything, willing to do anything, come up with money. People who claim they didn’t have money will find a way, take out a loan, falsify a loan to have an opportunity to play sports. And that’s just crazy.

Panama Jackson [00:10:44] You know, that is the one thing that I you know, that’s like the sad part of this whole thing. Those kids stories were ruined, right? Like, some of them didn’t have another opportunity for them. This was the chance that they thought they were going to have. Right. But even the one story they tried to build as a potential happy ending, which was the Trillian, which was the mother with the son. Right. You know, Trillian, I can remember his last name, but the quarterback. Right. Like, you know, he gets a gets a shot at Grambling and Grambling pulls the scholarship because of like, dude, you were associated with a scam school. We can’t let you go a here. I get it. If Grambling like Grambling can’t, they can’t you know, they can’t let him be a part of that team. Like, who knows? Are your records even legit? What records do you have? You know, like what school transcript can I trust that you have even like, you’re trying to transfer here? To be what? To be a student? To start as a freshman? Where are you in this process? Right. So, you know, I felt bad for a lot of those for the kids like you blaming the kid. I feel bad for them. How do you not feel bad for them? How could you like not feel bad?

Corey Wilson [00:11:54] All right. So for once, we had kids on there, like, these kids are aware. A lot of these kids have already graduated high school. They’re not stupid. They know they should not continue to play against high school kids, right?

Panama Jackson [00:12:05] Yes, I do agree there.

Corey Wilson [00:12:06] Yes. So your old, grown behind is still playing against 15, 16, 17 year olds. You’re already out of school. They had one dude that already been out of school for two years. Played Duke football and everything and he’s playing against high schools. You know that’s wrong.

Panama Jackson [00:12:21] Right.

Corey Wilson [00:12:22] So, to me like they know that’s wrong. They know they weren’t going to classes. Like they know they’re sitting around playing grab ass all day. This is a bad situation and you know and now it’s like everybody’s enlightened when the doc comes out. But like dude where was this enlightenment during the process.

Panama Jackson [00:12:44] But see, that’s why I blame the parents because in order to so the football season is from what like let’s say you come on campus to practice start practicing like August and the football season, the high school football season ends in November, maybe December if you’re in the playoffs.

Corey Wilson [00:13:03] If youn make the playoffs, right?

Panama Jackson [00:13:05] But then they go home. But no parent is like, this is weird. You don’t have to go back to school? The season is over. You’re done. That’s what I’m saying. That’s why I have a problem with the parents. The students, these are kids. Some of them are kids. Most of them are kids. Right? But they’re like, I don’t have to do any work. I don’t have to do anything. I just got to go play football and I can go about my business or whatever. Bet. Like, kids are going to be kids. And these, you know, admittedly they were looking for students, I use the term loosely, who, you know, perhaps struggled for their grades and they were looking for the most manipulated, the most manipulable kids they could find. Right. So they’re looking for the ones who ain’t going to care as much. But the parents like nobody’s checking in at all, like nobody’s concerned about paperwork or grades from your kids or anything like that. And like, they played legit seasons of football. Right. Like, they they had I mean, they never had a winning record, but they played legit seasons of football and traveled to games. They they they win places.

Corey Wilson [00:14:10] They yeah, they they.

Panama Jackson [00:14:12] Also say like nobody checks to see I mean, I guess when you’re a football coach, you’re coach of anything, I’ve never been like a coach at that level or any level that requires significant paperwork or like genuinely scheduling things out. You just like this school is available to play? Bet. They’ll come to us and play? Cool.

Corey Wilson [00:14:28] Yeah. So I can sympathize with them. I don’t think had I been in a position that I would like say, Oh, let’s Google this school and see if it’s an actual school. Like if someone has vouched for them and said they got high school on their name, I would assume they were a high school as well. Because like you said, no one ever thinks that this type of scam is happening and that you got a whole 60, 70 guys to participate in this type of scam, too. So if someone said, Hey, I represent Joe Blow High School out of Maryland, I’m like, All right, we’ve got open date. We’ll play ya’ll. So I imagine not much of background check goes to that.

Panama Jackson [00:15:09] Should they? So maybe not the actual individual teams because it looks like like what happened with the IMG like they had they went to a person who schedules who create schedules. Should that person be checking? Or is this such an anomaly you never really have to think about doing that? Or you’re going to do it now.

Corey Wilson [00:15:29] So, yes, I think now now we have to. Now that we’ve seen, you know, even like laws that weren’t in place before, need to go in place now. So like processes and things that weren’t in place before probably need to go to a place now. And actually checking to see if this is the actual high school that they are in compliance with whatever state they’re in, like they have some sort of certifications, paperwork.

Panama Jackson [00:15:55] Right.

Corey Wilson [00:15:55] Is probably something that needs to happen. See the birth certificate to make sure these cats ain’t 25. You know, but I think all that type of stuff needs to happen now.

Panama Jackson [00:16:08] We’re about to take a real quick break here on Dear Culture. We’re going to come back. We’re going to talk more about BS High, the doc on Max, about Roy Johnson and the Bishop Sycamore football scandal that rocked the sports world in 2021. And now because the doc is back on, we’re reliving it all over again. So stay tuned right here on Dear Culture. We’re back here on Dear Culture talking Bishop Sycamore and BS High. The documentary on Max that has everybody talking about the imagination of a scandal. Like how much of a scandal can you personally imagine and turn into? So here’s my question. Like I said, I blame all the adults in the room because there were coaches and parents. But what should happen to Roy Johnson and all the coaches? We already know that no laws have been broken. The state of Ohio did a whole 79 page report and they basically said this is bad. But he didn’t break any laws because there were no laws on the books to cover this thing But I still find that even hard. I mean, they got the whole YSL folks in jail on a RICO. They got to be some kind of. There got to be some way. There’s some way they can get these folks. But what should happen to them?

Corey Wilson [00:17:22] I thought that the way to get him is to use the way they get most people in these types of situations where it involve sports and that’s with the money.

Panama Jackson [00:17:30] Tax evasion.

Corey Wilson [00:17:31] Tax evasion. Right. That’s always the way. If you receive some money that you did claim, they hit you with the tax evasion. That’s usually the number one way to get it. And there was a big claim on their that he coerced these young men to take PPP loan. If somehow they can prove that happened, I think that’s the way to go after him. Like there’s clearly no rules on the books about creating a fake high school and making kids not go to class. But if he’s out here convincing, you know, 17, 18 year old kids to take fraudulent PPP loan and if he receives some of those funding and didn’t claim those funding, you know what I’m saying, there’s got to be some kind of tax situation. I think that’s the only route.

Panama Jackson [00:18:18] They got around it, because it’s designated as a religious school. So it’s like a nonprofit. Oh, so if you got around that, whatever money that they took in, they got around by through their nonprofit status, I think.

Corey Wilson [00:18:32] Yeah, they did say.

Panama Jackson [00:18:33] They’re still defrauding the government. That’s the crazy part about this. People were coerced or allegedly coerced into taking out PPP loans to cover tuition. That means you defrauded the government. Right. People use loan funds from the government to fund an entity that doesn’t actually exist.

Corey Wilson [00:18:54] Right.

Panama Jackson [00:18:54] Like, that’s got to be that’s got to be a crime. Somehow.

Corey Wilson [00:18:57] Yeah. I think that’s the that’s the route that they would have to take to catch these guys. Someone’s got to dig into that and figure out, you know, what part of that was, because I’m 100% certain.

Panama Jackson [00:19:12] What was the most surprising part about this doc to you? Of all the crazy stuff. What was the thing that got you the most?

Corey Wilson [00:19:20] You know, I think one of the stories there really surprised me was like when the kids told the story of him beating a homeless man and them sitting there watching. Like I really just go. So, you know, and I remember the days of being an 18 year old, 19 year old athlete and that’s just not the type of thing I would ever participate in or just sit around and watch. Like somebody beating up a homeless dude. And, you know, the fact that that that his players would sit there and I don’t even care if it’s my coach, I’ll be like, coach, chill out. Like, all right, You know what I’m saying? Like, coach, stop. What are we doing here? The fact that they would sit around and, like, watch him do that, it just tells me a lot about the players that were involved here. So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that they did other things. I think that was outlandish.

Panama Jackson [00:20:04] The geese story was weird because it really doesn’t fit in the doc, But it was the kind of thing that when the kid tells the story about him running over geese and killing geese, you’ve got to leave in there. Because it speaks to Roy’s mentality as a human.

Corey Wilson [00:20:19] Right.

Panama Jackson [00:20:19] Because it really does have anything to do with anything. Like, like, like, how did we even get to this point where the dude is telling a story about him running over geese on the road and then backing up and doing it over again? But then he response to it is like, Yeah, I did. I killed. He said, I killed one.

Corey Wilson [00:20:36] One geese.

Panama Jackson [00:20:36] But I guess if, if you I guess if you say I killed you know, there were multiple geese there, then I guess maybe it’s more than one. I’m like, this dude really is bonkers. Like, he’s, you know, like he didn’t deny it at all. He was like, Yeah, I did it. You know, I ran over some geese.

Corey Wilson [00:20:52] Yeah. Oh, that was that was probably the most surprising part of that story. And also just the ability to get away with not paying that many people for that long. Just continually bounce around from spot but and not pay people. I was a little surprised by that. Like how does this not catching with him.

Panama Jackson [00:21:11] I understood why the investigator from the Ohio State, Ohio High School Athletic Association. He was like Roy really opened up his mind to what fraud could be. Like before Roy, he didn’t understand how much fraud was possible.

Corey Wilson [00:21:27] Right.

Panama Jackson [00:21:29] Love that guy.

Corey Wilson [00:21:29] I would think that you could continually do this, but apparently you can. He’s like, Yeah, we just go for one hotel here for 30 days, here for 60 days, here for 90 days. We’re not going to pay nobody. We’re going to go eat here. We’re going to go do this. We’re not going to pay nobody. We’re going to cut fake checks to this hotel. It’s like, how is that even possible? Because, you know, in my mind, people like commit one or two frauds, they get caught, they are in jail for ten years. Make it through. I guess you could get away with it.

Panama Jackson [00:21:59] I mean, I. I was amazed by that, too. But I was just like, I’m like you. Like, I just never I would never think to keep committing them. At some point, you just got to stop. Yeah. Like, and he only stopped because he got caught more or less, Like the whole thing fell apart. Which makes me wonder. Do you think everybody was kind of just waiting for the other shoe to drop? Like, everybody knew this this was unsustainable, but it lasted longer than it should have. So they’re just like, alright we’re just going to ride this out. But there’s no way this is something that’s going to be able to last forever, like it shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. Like the fact that he had football seasons in 2018, 19, 20 through 21 when they started canceling games. Finally, after the the IMG TV debacle, like, do you think at some point that either. So I think two things are possible. So this is I guess it’s a better question like do you think because it went so long, they were like, well, maybe we’ll get away with this, but there got to be somebody on a coaching staff who’s like, Guys, this is not going to work. We’re all going to prison. Like we’re going to jail at some point.

Corey Wilson [00:23:02] You would think so. If I was staff I would’ve been the dude like nah, this don’t make no sense. We definitely getting caught.This is a terrible idea. I would be scared that I would be associated with it in some kind of way. This could fall back on me. I’m, you know, I’m complicit in this. I’m a participate. I don’t know the laws. I ain’t trying to find out. But I’m not trying to go to jail for none of this. But you know, and even with the players too. Like they had negative consequences. You know, he is putting their name on a hotel room so that he got eviction.

Panama Jackson [00:23:36] Eviction notices and all that stuff like.

Corey Wilson [00:23:37] Stuff like that on there. On their thing. Dude who act like he didn’t realize he had a PPP loan in his name. Like, lthey’re going to suffer, you know, potentially long term consequences for these types of things, too. That’s why you just don’t t participate in stuff like this. It’s not worth it. And nobody really got the benefit that they set out to get from it. So it wasn’t one of those things where it’s like the ends justify the means because it wasn’t even a good idea. Like you were never going to accomplish what you set out to accomplish.

Panama Jackson [00:24:10] Except for Roy, who somehow believes that he got exactly what he was supposed to have. Thinking that by his story being out there because he didn’t see like I don’t believe him when he was like, yeah, I mean, like 15 other schools have already called to try to play us like, Bro, nobody wants any parts of you, bro. Like, it’s impossible. Nobody.

Corey Wilson [00:24:29] No one will ever play any school he’s ever affiliated with ever again. If any player ever plays on a team that he’s affiliated with, I’m talking about he could be the assistant coach, a waterboy anything no one’s playing him. Like it’s not happening. He’s completely canceled.

Panama Jackson [00:24:48] I have sympathy for the kids but anybody going forward like from this moment on like I don’t know what he’s doing right now, but this moment for anybody associated with him should be ashamed with themselves. Whatever negatively happens to you from here on out is 100% your fault. Like that I agree with you 100%.

Corey Wilson [00:25:05] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I know he said he wanted to continue to try to, you know, make a new football team or whatever, new school. I just don’t see that happening. I’m certain that won’t happen.

Panama Jackson [00:25:16] Yeah. I think the Roy Johnson story it is legend because I mean he’s right about that like after this documentary. I mean everybody I know is watching this documentary. Like, I’ve seen it several times. I’ve watched it multiple times since the first time. I was like, I can’t believe what I just watched. I need to go watch that again to make sure I’m not tripping.

Corey Wilson [00:25:35] It probably took me four hours to watch the two hour documentary because I kept rewinding like, did that just happen? Like did he really just do that? I’m watching it. Pausing it. Discussing it. I was like that can’t be right. That can’t happen. 

Panama Jackson [00:25:49] This is definitely going to go down as one of the greatest documentaries of all time. Just for what it exposes, right? Like the amount because this is hard to believe. Like even now, I still find it difficult to believe that he was able to pull this much stuff off because technically speaking, you got away with it. You know, he’s he still is. I don’t I mean, aside from all the civil lawsuits he has, which he can’t pay. It ain’t like he got any money. So, I mean, you you know, if there are 30 lawsuits, that’s 30 people who are just going to be waiting for the money for real long time. And he knows it. So he probably doesn’t even care. He’s just like, whatever. He probably don’t see his children, his wife, his ex-wife or girl and whatever. I mean, they can have nothing to do with him, you know. Like this Doc is all the reason they needed in court to revoke his custody.

Corey Wilson [00:26:34] I think he definitely has to go down as the legendary scammer just because of the amount of people it takes to pull off this kind of scam. Right? You got to have 60 players. You need another 10 to 15 coaches. You know, you got to have so many people involved in this scam to pull it off and for him to coordinate it and get away with, he’s a legendary scammer.

Panama Jackson [00:26:56] He is a legend. As much as I hate to admit it, my man has done, he’s in rare air. He’s done things that nobody else could do. When you talk about GOATs in their respective categories, Roy Johnson got to be one of the GOAT scammers of all time.

Corey Wilson [00:27:14] How did you feel about his like his complete lack of remorse? That was also one thing I was surprised about. He had no remorse for anything. He didn’t feel bad about nothing.

Panama Jackson [00:27:26] Yeah, I mean, that just proved me the sociopath, right? Like that just that just leveled up the narcissism. It kind of made me scared of him. He’s like Suge Knight. Like the end of the doc the way that his facial expressions were looking real like maniacal. Like he’s looking at the camera. I don’t ever want to see this do. Like, he seems, like, genuinely insane. Like, whatever’s wrong with him is no little thing. And he said it himself. I’m insecure, I’m an extremist, and I’m resourceful. He’s like, That’s a terrible combination.

Corey Wilson [00:28:02] I got to keep an eye out for those quality people.

Panama Jackson [00:28:05] Bro. Like those three. Those three of me. Anybody who use those three words together is like, You know what? I got to let you go. This ain’t gonna work out. I don’t see this going where you think it’s going. Like, I already know what’s possible, and I don’t need that in my life.

Corey Wilson [00:28:21] Absolutely.

Panama Jackson [00:28:21] So here’s my last question. What is the big lesson, the big takeaway, we should all get out of this doc? Like, what is the one lesson that everybody needs to take away from this?

Corey Wilson [00:28:35] I think the main thing that I took away from it is just like like I said earlier, the lengths that people are willing to go to, to participate in big time athletics. To try to get the college athletics. To try to get to eventually the NFL. I think, you know, if we put that kind of effort into doing other things, the life of these kids, but that kind of effort and energy, doing other things, you know, they could have been successful at other things. There was a kid on there talking about I didn’t have money to go to college, but he found a way to take out a loan to go to Bishop Sycamore. You could have went to Central State for 2500 a semester, but you know when it comes to going to college, you know, we don’t have the resources then, but when comes to playing football we could find the resources. My biggest takeaway was like, you know, as a community, we got to stop like putting like athleticism on a like a pedestal and stop worshiping.

Panama Jackson [00:29:32] But do you think that’s possible? I mean, our society, like we worship athleticism in feats of like that’s literally our society is kind of built on that, right? Like, we focus on athletics as a means to make it out of places, but we just kind of all love sports. We take music out of school, you’ll take a music program out of a school way before you get rid of a football team, right? Like you, because a football team can also make money. It can also, like we view these things as character building and as a means for success.

Corey Wilson [00:30:09] When you say our society, though, are you talking about our community as in the African-American community?

Panama Jackson [00:30:13] I’m talking about society in general, like I’m talking about sports and like this this documentary, like Bomani Jones, who I think he’s like perfect in this doc. I’ve never seen anybody who literally said the the most perfect sentence every time he spoke about everything he said. But everything was spot on on here. But, you know, he pointed out in this doc, like, this is who this was going to happen to. He didn’t view it as a racial thing so much as you were going to do this to Black people because Black people are who are going to get caught up in this kind of thing because of where he was and all that other stuff. I think just in general, like American society, you know, is a 100% sports crazy. Like we worship football.

Corey Wilson [00:30:53] I don’t think this would have happened to a group of white kids. I don’t think I don’t think they would idolize athletics and big time and being a big time athlete so much that they would do this to sell to their futures just to play big time college sports.

Panama Jackson [00:31:10] So why do you think that we would. Let me let me let me add a little wrinkle to that. You and I are from down south. We are from football like mania places, right? Like you’re the you went to LSU. You’re from Louisiana, where football reigns supreme. I went to high school in Alabama, where football reigns supreme. We come from places where they build multimillion dollar stadiums for the high school teams, in places where the college stadiums only have one side for seating. Right. Like we come from places like that. White people do that stuff, too. Like it ain’t just a Black thing.

Corey Wilson [00:31:52] They’re investing in it, but they don’t. You’ve never heard. So I commonly hear and I’m sure I heard it, Black people feel like they got two ways to get out of their situation, play ball or rap. Right. You don’t really hear that from white people. They’re never like I only had two choices in life play ball or rap.

Panama Jackson [00:32:11] That’s true.

Corey Wilson [00:32:12] Right. So that’s because, like, they understand there are other ways to be, you know, successful adults.

Panama Jackson [00:32:20] Ain’t there like a his store. I mean, that’s I mean, I hate to do this to be cliche about this, but doesn’t that kind of just go back to white supremacy and like the legacy of slavery and, you know, breaking the chains of psychological oppression and all that kind of stuff. Our communities have been depressed in such a way where those things happen. Like, I’m with you know, this is basically one of those personal accountability convos, right, where it’s like at some point you got to take ownership of the circumstances in which you find yourself. Those circumstances were impressed upon a lot of us because, I mean, that’s why we have things like Black excellence and we exceptionalism in the Black community is such a conversation where we we turn it into these things because some of us have gotten out of, through our parents or through other people that were invested in us and wanted us to win, or they saw something in us that made them realize, I got to make sure these kids win. Like everybody doesn’t get that. Like, I genuinely do believe that everybody doesn’t have the same access to opportunity that you or I had. You know, you come from a family where everybody is a college grad. Me too. We come from, those kind of families where, including your parents, you know, on top of that, like, you know, including your parents, like, you know, both of my parents have degrees, too.

Corey Wilson [00:33:41] My grandparents had college degrees.

Panama Jackson [00:33:44] So, yeah. So, you know, you were kind of on a track for that, right? So if you didn’t, that would be your fault. It would be you. Corey made decisions that placed him in a position to not be the best version of himself or at least give himself an opportunity to be the best version of himself. Right. Everybody don’t have that.

Corey Wilson [00:34:04] But so, you know, I’m going to disagree with that. Well, I’m not going to say I disagree with that. But what I will say is, at this point, you know, all that the only skill they need is simple observation skill, right. We can observe that there are people in society who are very successful, who don’t play basketball, who don’t play football and who don’t rap. Right. And we can see the path that they take. All you have to do is follow the blueprint, you know, And but, you know, a lot of those other paths just aren’t glamorize so people will act like it’s not available to me. It’s just as available as this one. The energy you put into this, you could have put in that. That quarterback dude, he said after the football season was over, you went back to Texas to start training and lifting weights every day. Bro, you was to credits short of high school. Go study everyday. Go get them two credits knocked out. So you could qualify for Grambling when it came calling right. But we don’t put that kind of, he got that the energy and effort to train and lift weights every day and throw the football but he don’t have to energy to go do his books every day.

Panama Jackson [00:35:03] But see, this is where I blame parents, Right? His mom, again, was the one in the doc. Like talking like was was as guilty as any of anybody, any adult in the room for this. She she enabled that. Right. And, you know, let’s go ahead and racialize it, that was a white woman. She viewed it the same way. She’s like my boy’s gonna and, you know, we’re going to. Sports is our way. I don’t know if she’s viewing it stereotypically, like my son is going to get going to going to make you rich playing sports, even though at some point she had to realize that probably wasn’t going to happen. But, you know, she’s enabling that dream by not forcing him to go seek out, or at least it didn’t even see when she was encouraging it. She let this fool go on to a field with the with the with the helmet he had no business wearing. This is the person raising him and providing him support and encouragement and all that. This is what I’m saying. Like everybody don’t have the good people to help them see the other options and where they could be. And I’m not saying that you don’t owe it to yourself.

Corey Wilson [00:36:09] What’s the age where you see for yourself? What’s that point?

Panama Jackson [00:36:13] I don’t know. I mean, I see. So I don’t know the answer to that question because let me say this. I don’t it’s not like I come from a family full of like college graduates and all this stuff everywhere. In fact, I come from a family that has several NFL players and stuff like that in it. But or, you know, former NFL players and stuff like that. But my father always stressed education, like his goal was for me to get to college. Like, that’s that was his singular goal was for me to get there. And he talked about it relentlessly. So in my mind, that’s just what I was going to do. Like, it never dawned on me that I was going to do something else, that maybe part of that is I wasn’t necessarily athletically gifted like that either. Like I didn’t view sports as my way out. I was always the smart one. So in my friends also recognized I was the smart ones. I don’t know. I’ve always view. I’ve always felt like I’ve been lucky in that regard, that even in high school, like my friends who all played football and were on all the teams were focused on my grades, right? Like when I did when I got a bad grade, they were concerned, like, Boy, what you doing? You. I play basketball, he plays football. You get straight A’s. Like, I got that kind of encouragement. So I don’t know if it’s an anomaly or I just got lucky. Like I got blessed to be around people my whole life, who were invested in my success and who still are. You know, But I had that. I’ve had that from a young age. To your question about what age is that? So I don’t know at what point these people. There are people trying to rap at 50. I mean, I don’t know when you’re supposed to give up on your dream.

Corey Wilson [00:37:42] So. So this is the thing, though, right? So why are we going to tell people they could be rappers and ballplayers, at the end of the day, most people don’t know, very few people know a successful rapper. Right. But you still see that as, even though you don’t know none, there ain’t none of your neighborhood. They might not be none of your city depended on.

Panama Jackson [00:38:01] Less of us probably no successful lawyer and doctor and all that other stuff. Too.

Corey Wilson [00:38:06] Not true.

Panama Jackson [00:38:06] You think all of us know successful lawyers and doctors?

Corey Wilson [00:38:09] Shit yeah. Your cousin used one when he got locked up. You see them? What the fuck are you talking about?

Panama Jackson [00:38:15] That was probably a white lawyer. So, again, that’s probably a white lawyer who viewed who view you as less than it was just trying to take your money. Like didn’t believe in the case. I’m just look at I’m not trying to make excuses entirely, though I realize that is what I’m doing to some degree. I just think that. You’re right. There’s a personal accountability angle to this. At some point, you have to realize what you’re getting yourself into and then not do that in or try to do something else.

Corey Wilson [00:38:43] You know, these guys, like on an athletics thing, is so like, if you go to certain schools, you might get a scholarship, but nobody from that school is going to the league, right? There’s only a handful of schools, they’re really like produce talent like that. You go to certain schools, nobody, nobody from that school going through the league. So that’s not even like a real I don’t I don’t even know how that becomes like a real path for people in people’s mind.

Panama Jackson [00:39:10] Yeah. I mean, it is interesting how all the the kids are the I mean, a lot of them were like 21 years old, now they’re grown, but, you know, they were talking about just getting to college. And I’m like, So you you probably don’t really think you have a shot at the NFL, but are you viewing college as your stepping stone to a better life? Because that’s actually a positive message. If that’s the case, if they are looking to get to college because they actually think that’s the only way they’re going to get there, because they don’t have money or resources or whatever. And if they get to college, then they can then find a better life for themselves. If that’s the case.

Corey Wilson [00:39:46] There’s always a lie in the bullshit they telling. That’s just their excuse, Right? That’s how they rationalize it. Well, I can’t afford college, bro. Let me tell you something. There’s one thing in life that you can borrow up to the wazoo and it’s to fund your education. Right? They will let you burial yourself in debt to fund an education. You can go to an affordable school. Like I said in Ohio, I look up the tuition of Central State, I think it’s the Black school, 2500 a semester, very affordable. Five grand a year. You can get a degree for like $21,000, right? Bro, that’s the cost of a used Honda Accord. If I got to borrow that to fund my future, I’m willing to do it right. But, you know, we’ll see these kids, they’ll be like, Oh, I can’t do that. But then this dude tells you you need 12 grand to play at a big high school and you’re willing to take chances and make PPP loans and have your mama taking out a loan, you know, to play at a fake high school, But you wouldn’t take that same chance to go to Central State and get you a degree.

Panama Jackson [00:40:45] Yeah. I mean, you know, let me be clear. I don’t think that you’re wrong. I do think that for some people, the dream in the idea of like, it is hard to change your mentality sometimes to think about what could be in other spaces. Right. Everybody hasn’t seen if you even if you’ve seen it, let’s say from afar, to visualize it for yourself. A lot of them can see themselves as football players. That’s all they know. That’s the one thing that everybody said they were good at or successful that they could see themselves that way. And maybe it’s difficult for those people to give up on that dream because that’s the only place they’ve ever felt positive affirmation or whatever.

Corey Wilson [00:41:24] Yeah, I could see that.

Panama Jackson [00:41:25] Which is the sad part, is it’s possible that that is true and that would be sad and that would probably be why so many of us view a lot of athletics as our way out, because that’s the only place we’ve excelled for a lot of us. Right. Like you excelled in the classroom and athletically,.

Corey Wilson [00:41:43] Right.

Panama Jackson [00:41:44] I excel in the classroom. I’m good at other things. And  people who see that I’m good at those things, make sure that I know it. It helped me get to those other things. Right. And it doesn’t seem like they.

Corey Wilson [00:41:54] Had that.

Panama Jackson [00:41:55] Had any of that. They had Roy Johnson, one of the greatest scammers of all time, as somebody they called coach. And that’s actually the lesson that I learned is like, don’t trust anybody named Roy Johnson.

Corey Wilson [00:42:06] That can’t be a lesson, dude.

Panama Jackson [00:42:10] But, you know, like, it’s just like the type of fraud that is possible. Like I am my mind has been expanded now. So now I think everything’s on the table. There used to be a part of me that was like, some things are just impossible. Now I know that almost anything is possible if you believe in the scam enough. If you have enough tenacity to be insecure, an extremist and resourceful, the scamming world is your oyster.

Corey Wilson [00:42:42] You know what? I know who else is on the mountain with him. Who’s the guy? Santos. Uh, the the congressman guy who made up his whole life.

Panama Jackson [00:42:52] Oh, yeah. Yes, that’s right. Yep. Yeah, Yeah.

Corey Wilson [00:42:56] These guys are. Let me know that if you believe in it, you can achieve it.

Panama Jackson [00:43:02] If you believe it, you can sell it, right?

Corey Wilson [00:43:03] You can sell it.

Panama Jackson [00:43:04] If you believe it, you can sell it.

Corey Wilson [00:43:05] Yeah. He reminds me a lot of that guy. I see a lot of the similarities between them two.

Panama Jackson [00:43:11] Man, man, man. Well, all right. Well, listen, I appreciate you joining on. Joining me for this convo about BS High.

Corey Wilson [00:43:16] Thanks for having me.

Panama Jackson [00:43:17] I think we gonna be talking about this documentary for a really long time in the community. Roy Johnson will live in infamy, which is not a good place to live.

Corey Wilson [00:43:27] Not at all.

Panama Jackson [00:43:28] Shouts out. Appreciate you, bro. And thank you to everybody for listening to Dear Culture, which is an original podcast of theGrio Black Podcast Network. It is produced by Sasha Armstrong, edited by Geoff Trudeau, and Regina Griffin is our director of podcasts. Again, my name is Panama Jackson. Thank you for listening. Have a Black one.

Maiysha Kai [00:43:48] Before we started this podcast to talk about not just what Black writers write about, but how.

Ayana Gray [00:43:54] Well, personally, it’s on my bucket list to have one of my books banned. I know that’s probably bad, but I think.

Maiysha Kai [00:44:00] Ooh, spicy.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault [00:44:01] They were yelling N-word, go home. And I was looking around for the N-word because I knew it couldn’t be me because I was the queen.

Keith Boykin [00:44:09] I am telling people to quit this mentality of identifying ourselves by our work, to start to live our lives and to redefine the whole concept of how we work and where we work and why we work in the first place.

Misty Copeland [00:44:24] My biggest strength throughout, throughout my career has been having incredible mentors and specifically Black women.

Omar Epps [00:44:31] I’ve been writing poetry since I was like eight. I’ve been reading Langston Hughes and James Baldwin and Maya Angelou and so forth and so on, since I was like a little kid.

Rhiannon Giddens [00:44:39] Like the banjo was Blackity Black, right? For many, many, many years. Everybody knew.

Sam Jay [00:44:46] Because sometimes I’m just doing some that, because I just want to do it.

J-Ivy [00:44:52] Honored to be here. Thank you for doing the work that you doing. Keep shinning bright. And like you said, we all keep Writing Black.

Maiysha Kai [00:44:59] As always, you can find us on theGrio app or wherever you find your podcasts.