Sue Bird Promises the 2020 ESPYs Will Not "Shy Away" From Addressing Racial Inequality

Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe and Russell Wilson discuss how the ESPYs will contribute to the current conversation around race in a pre-show conference hosted on Thursday

von Cydney Contreras Jun 18, 2020 21:12Tags

As one of the hosts of the 2020 ESPYs, Sue Bird has vowed to address race and inequality on the award show. 

The basketball player and her partner Megan Rapinoe, along with their co-host Russell Wilson, spoke to reporters during a pre-show conference call on Tuesday. On this call, the three hosts promised that they will acknowledge the current conversations happening around race and inequality as it pertains to sports, something that Sue said they all see eye to eye on. "When it comes to issues surrounding race and inequality, we're all aligned. This isn't something we shy away from," she explained. 

Megan agreed and stated that she believes the ESPYs highlights the intersectionality of sports with race, culture, gender and sexuality, while also giving "people a chance to have a night where they get to smile."

As for how they will touch on these matters, Wilson shared, "We'll definitely acknowledge that in a really powerful way I believe."

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In addition, Megan stated that her identity as a gay woman has helped her to better understand the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. "When I saw Colin [Kaepernick] kneel, when I saw the WNBA players wearing the shirts, watching and learning through Ferguson and the years to come after that, and obviously into 2016, there did come a point where I was like, 'Well, yeah I've looked at that flag and not had all of my rights upheld'," the soccer player explained. 

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She continued, "I may not have walked a mile in your shoes but I believe you and what you're saying because I've been in the position, asking someone to believe me and ask me knowing that they haven't had the same experience." 

Megan's previously showed solidarity with the former pro footballer by kneeling during the National Anthem at U.S. soccer games, which wasn't allowed prior to this June.

Russell added that he's trying to have conversations with his white teammates and other athletes, so that they can help further the Black Lives Matter movement too. He said, "It's one thing to listen... It's another thing to act and help and to make a difference."

Sue agreed that these talks are important and added that it's incumbent on their white counterparts to strive to understand their privilege. "You do need to educate yourself. You do need to be aware. You do need to have a level of understanding because that's how you can continue to have the conversation and that's how you can show up and that's how you can continue to move things forward," Sue stated. "Not just the one time where you wear the shirt, but what are you going to do every day after that?"

Tune in to the 2020 ESPYs on Sunday, June 21 at 9:00 p.m. EST.