Anthony Mackie didn’t hold back when it came to hosting the ESPY Awards.
The “Falcon and The Winter Soldier” star started off the event held The Rooftop at Pier 17 by making a joke about sprinter Sha’carri Richardson not being allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympics after a positive marijuana test.
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“The greatest celebration of sports is back! We up here on a rooftop in New York City. Man, we’re so high they wouldn’t let us compete in the Olympics,” Mackie said. Richardson was in the audience and seemed to appreciate the jab.
Anthony Mackie: we so high they wouldn't even let us in the Olympics.
Sha'Carri Richardson:#ESPYS #theespys pic.twitter.com/DnGmQFe7he
— Siobhain (@summer0001) July 11, 2021
He then later furthered hitting back at banning Richardson.
“USA Track & Field: How you mess it up, dog? How do you justify banning Sha’Carri Richardson for smoking weed? Weed is a de-hancing drug — it doesn’t make you do anything but want to watch another episode of ‘Bob’s Burgers’. You never saw Snoop Dogg run anywhere! I don’t know how you justify not letting her run.”
Mackie then turned to another female athlete who has been in the headlines–Naomi Osaka. The tennis star was recently fined by the French Open for not taking part in the post-match press conference after Osaka expressed concern for her own mental health. She has since dropped out of a few other tournaments.
ESPYS host Anthony Mackie touches on Naomi Osaka's stance on prioritizing mental health. 👏 pic.twitter.com/3u0tgOHLhU
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) July 11, 2021
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“And I don’t know how you punish Naomi Osaka for prioritizing her mental health,” said Mackie. “That’s crazy. I’m no tennis exec, I don’t know, but if my sport had one of the most popular and marketable athletes on the planet, you know what I would do? I would probably make sure she felt comfortable and respected. But hey, what do I know, right? I’m just Captain America.”
ESPY Auditions @stephenasmith @JHarden13 @KingJames @ESPYS pic.twitter.com/FeQLxIIoCB
— Anthony Mackie (@AnthonyMackie) July 9, 2021
Ahead of the award show, Mackie showed off his best impressions of some of the biggest names in the athletic world including LeBron James, James Harden and Stephen A. Smith.
“The only way to succeed is to know you’re not going to succeed all the time. And I know that. I dream as if I’ll live forever. And I live as if I’ll die today,” Mackie’s James said. “It doesn’t matter what number I wear because I’m gonna give 100 no matter what. I’m LeBron freakin’ James!”