On Sunday night, Russell Wilson Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird opened the 2020 ESPY Awards with an important message about racism in the sports industry.
Each from their own homes, the three athletes spoke about the Black Lives Matter protests happening in the United States naming Black athletes that have paved the way like Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson and Bill Russell. They also paid tribute to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
“Our country’s work is not anywhere close to done. We need justice. We need true leadership. We need a change, and we need it now,” said Wilson.
“I look at my children and I pray for a better future. A world where the colour of their brown skin doesn’t stop them from their calling, from their purpose and from their destiny,” he shared. “I pray for a world where I don’t have to fear for my children from systemic racism due to hundreds of years of oppression. The only thing that must die is racism. Black Lives Matter.”
— ESPN (@espn) June 22, 2020
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback continued, “So where do we go from here? … I see a world of hurt, pain, and despair. But I also see a new generation, a generation that is calling out in desperate need for lasting change.”
Wilson added, “To my white teammates and friends, we need you to lead too. Don’t just listen, help.”
Soccer star Rapinoe said, “It’s important that we keep this dialogue going and this energy alive.”
While WNBA Seattle Storm player Bird later added in, “Trust us, we know that sports are important. It’s why we’re gathered here tonight. But do Black lives matter to you when they’re not throwing touchdowns, grabbing rebounds, serving aces? Our return must be part of the fight for justice.”