Social justice and gun control made for an emotional 2016 ESPYS
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“We cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that have plagued so many of us. The system is broken … but the urgency to create change is at an all-time high," Anthony said
Wade said with a sense of urgency, “Racial profiling has to stop. The shoot to kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown values has to stop. But also the retaliation, has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough…” posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Dobson, a 15-year-old football player, was shot and killed last year while trying to shield three girls from gunfire in Knoxville, TN
Michael B. Jordan narrated the video presentation about Dobson while NBA MVP Stephen Curry presented the award to Dobson's family.
"It's up to all of us to build a country that's worthy of Zaevion's promise." —@POTUS on Zaevion Dobson #ESPYS https://t.co/7pKls0rIaE — The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 14, 2016Upon accepting the award, his mother, Zenobia touched the hearts of all who watched as she remembered her son and his 12-year-old cousin, killed 4 months later due to gun violence. She urged not only the athletes in the room but also viewers to fight back and consider the affects of gun violence on families across America. Her message advocated for Americans to push to rewrite laws about gun access and reminded athletes that people look up to them
With that influential power, she asked the players to think of why Zaevion Dobson died and consider what they could do to prevent the next victim.
The magnitude of her message and Zaevion's life left a lasting impression.
Zaevion Dobson is such a hero. His story touched my heart when I heard it. Rest in peace. #ESPYS #ArthurAshe — Alyssa Neilson (@AlyssaNeilson) July 14, 2016
This Zaevion Dobson storytelling has me shook man. #ESPYS— Kofie Yeboah (@KofieSpeaks) July 14, 2016
For the first time tonight, I see the backstage crew stop what they were doing and get silent ... as the #ZaevionDobson story airs. #ESPYS — T.J. Holmes (@tjholmes) July 14, 2016To close the night, NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remembered his close friend and boxing legend, Muhammad Ali
"He spoke fearlessly about injustice and he sacrificed tremendously for his principles," he said. "In this day and age, at this moment in history, that's what I hope everyone remembers about Muhammad Ali. We're never going to see his likes again walking down the street, but I hope his death spurs his successors to remember what truly made him the greatest."