Russell Wilson opens EPSY Awards with Black Lives Matter message
The Seahawks quarterback begs the nation, 'I pray for a world where the color of their brown skin doesn’t stop them from their calling'
Amid the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the ESPY Awards presented a virtual event on the night of Father’s Day and it was opened by Russell Wilson.
Amid the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the ESPY Awards presented a virtual event on the night of Father’s Day.
This year’s ESPYs was a joint venture with the Sports Humanitarian Awards and focused on recognizing service, perseverance, and humanitarianism.
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The event opened with a powerful video from Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, alongside gold-medal soccer star, Megan Rapinoe, and WNBA star, Sue Bird. The trio served as hosts of the virtual event, and also opened it with a powerful video dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement. Each was dressed in a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt.
“This is our moment to prove that we know a better world is one where Black lives are valued.”@DangeRussWilson, @S10Bird and @mPinoe open the 2020 #ESPYS. pic.twitter.com/ntJzgtkhMq
— ESPN (@espn) June 22, 2020
“As millions of people of all colors protest, I see a world of hurt, pain, and despair,” Wilson said, “But I also see a new generation, a generation that is calling out in desperate need for lasting change.” The star quarterback also repeatedly emphasized that he wants a better world for his children.
“I pray for a world where the color of their brown skin doesn’t stop them from their calling, their purpose,” Wilson said.
He has a daughter with pop star Ciara and is a stepfather to her son. The couple are also expecting a third child.
Rapinoe and Bird made impassioned pleas to white Americans to be more focused allies in this historic moment. “This time, we’ve got to have their backs,” she said of African Americans.
Rapinoe also encouraged fellow white athletes to support the movement.
“We can’t let sports try and take us back to the way things were. Every athlete at every level has the power to show what it looks like to fight for what is right.”
WNBA legend, Bird, who is also Rapinoe’s girlfriend, directly challenged sports fans.
“Do Black lives matter to you when they’re not throwing touchdowns? Grabbing rebounds? Serving aces? If that was uncomfortable to hear, good, I used to shy away from moments like this because it’s convenient to be quiet. To be thought of as safe and polite,” she said.
“It’s great that sports are back, but George Floyd won’t be there to see them, Breonna Taylor won’t be there to see them.”
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The annual Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards, have been recognizing sports stars for 27 years. However, this year many categories were eliminated. “We can’t really give out a best team award when the teams haven’t finished their seasons, and you can’t have the best moment when there was no Masters or Wimbledon,” MaggieVision Productions VP Jeff Smith explained on Good Morning America.
The ESPYs also honored the life of the late, great Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter crash on January 26.
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