2020 ESPYs –
Last the night the ESPYS went on virtually. It was hosted by Sue Bird, Seattle Storm guard; Megan Rapinoe, captain of the U.S. national soccer team and Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback. Donned in black lives matter t-shirts, they opened the sports awards show with a very powerful message about systemic racism, police brutality and how sports can create change. Throughout the program, the entire sports community – athletes, owners and fans – were challenged to join the fight for social justice.
Some of my favorite moments.
- Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin surprised Taquarius Wair with a special message and the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. The college football player almost lost his life in a house fire when he was four years old, but hasn’t allow that tragedy to stop him from living a full life and playing football.
- Snoop Dogg raps a tribute to the late LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Robin Roberts celebrate and congratulate the graduating class of 2020.
- NFL defensive back Malcolm Jenkins and other sports celebrities call for racial equality.
All of the 2020 ESPY Awards Winners.
Colin Back in the NFL –
With the world now focused on social justice and sports league supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been a lot of conversation around Colin Kaepernick returning to play in the NFL. Kaepernick was blacklisted from the NFL after he started a kneeling campaign to protest social injustice during the preseason in 2016. He hasn’t played a professional game since January 1, 2017.
In speaking to Mike Greenberg for ESPN’s The Return of Sports special, this is what Commissioner Roger Goodell had to say about Colin who owns the NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game (181 yards) playing in the League again.
Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s going to take a team to make that decision, But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that. If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities. We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody’s welcome at that table and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues that have been around for a long time.
Flag Makeover –
The NCAA is putting pressure on Mississippi to change its state flag which still has Confederate symbols. Announced on Friday, they have expanded its Confederate flag policy to prohibit all of its championship events from being held in the states where the flag is flown. Previously, the policy only applied to predetermined championship sites such as the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Now it applies to every single championship including those awarded based on competition like baseball, lacrosse and softball. Mississippi is the only state impacted by the change.
The Southeastern Conference is demanding that Mississippi change its state flag to remove Confederate symbols. In a statement released last Thursday, Greg Sankey, the SEC Commissioner said the powerful football conference would consider precluding their championships from being hosted in the state until the flag is changed.
Slow Race to Change –
Late last night, NASCAR said a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace‘s Richard Petty Motorsports team before the postponed Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Wallace is the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top series.
This comes a few weeks after, NASCAR announced that Confederate symbols would be banned from its events. This is not the only action taken to show defiance to NASCAR’s new policy. Yesterday, a plane flying over the track dragged a Confederate flag and the message: “Defund NASCAR.” It was mocking Black Lives Matter supporters who want to defund the police and transfer those resources to social programs.
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