ESPN's 2020 ESPY Awards was held on Sunday, June 21, though the event looked very different from years prior. There was no red carpet and awards took on a different format and tone given the impact of the pandemic on sports.
The broadcast, hosted by Russell Wilson, Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, kicked off with a powerful message in support of Black Lives Matter and ending systemic racism. Athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell and Serena Williams were honored for their efforts and courage fighting for equality.
In the opening, Wilson said, "And there's also this conversation: I can't breathe. I can't breathe." He calls for change and justice and the end of racism in the United States.
The video continues, with Bird saying, "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? If that was uncomfortable to hear, good. I used to shy away from moments like this, because it’s convenient to be quiet, to be thought of as safe and polite."
Notably, boxer Kim Clavel was awarded the Pat Tillman Award for Service for her contributions as a nurse during the pandemic. The Los Angeles Dodgers won the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year award for building baseball fields in underserved communities.
Other awards were given to athletes such as Nelson Cruz, Taquarius Wair, Kevin Love, and more.