2020 ESPY Awards Opening Video Declares Black Lives Matter & Acknowledges Colin Kaepernick

NFL star Russell Wilson calls on his white teammates and friends to lead, listen, and help.

(AllHipHop News) Four years ago, Colin Kaepernick was essentially blackballed from the National Football League for taking a knee during the national anthem as a way to protest police brutality in America. At the time, the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was still viewed negatively by many Americans.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020 by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with the assistance of three other cops, the approval rating for the Black Lives Matter movement has skyrocketed in the country. Some former critics are even now acknowledging that Kaepernick’s peaceful protests were justifiable and necessary.

The intersection of sports and social justice has long been part of the American experience. With Black Lives Matter demonstrations taking place across the globe and the call for the end of systemic racism dominating the news, ESPN’s 2020 ESPYs could not avoid the topic of race.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, WNBA player Sue Bird, and Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe served as hosts for this year’s ceremony. Wilson opened the remotely-held award show with an introduction video highlighting the history of Black athlete-activists and endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Super Bowl champion recalled the civil rights accomplishments of sports icons Jackie Robinson, Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos. While wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt, Wilson also mentioned African-American citizens that have been killed by law enforcement or ex-law enforcement.

“We need justice. We need true leadership. We need a change and we need it now,” said Wilson in the video package. He later added, “The only thing that must die is racism. Black lives matter.” 

In addition, Megan Rapinoe specifically acknowledged Colin Kaepernick’s efforts to bring awareness to racial injustice. She said, “Colin Kaepernick never shied away. He knew that discomfort was essential to liberation and that fighting the oppression against Black people is bigger than sports.”

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