Russell Wilson Addresses Black Lives Matter Movement in Personal 2020 ESPYS Opening

Co-host Russell Wilson kicks off the 2020 ESPYS by pleading for change. Hear his about the Black Lives Matter movement.

By Mike Vulpo Jun 22, 2020 1:29 AMTags

Russell Wilson is pleading for change at the 2020 ESPYS.

During Sunday night's award show, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback kicked off the evening by acknowledging several trailblazing Black athletes who paved the way for many in the sports community. 

From Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali to Bill Russell and Serena Williams, Russell gave praise to sports figures who went against the establishment while inspiring generations.

"What if we didn't know their names? What if they were never a part of the conversation?" he asked while wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt. "And there's also this conversation: ‘I can't breathe. I can't breathe.'  Those were George Floyd's last words…Our country's work is not anywhere close to done. We need justice."

The NFL star continued, "We need true leadership. We need a change. We need it now."

Russell also spoke about his children he shares with Ciara. During his opening monologue the quarterback pictured an improved world for the youngest generation.

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"I look at my children and I pray for a better future. A world where the color of their brown skin doesn't stop them from their calling, from their purpose and from their destiny," he shared. "I pray for a world where I don't have to fear for my children from systemic racism due to hundreds of years of oppression. The only thing that must die is racism. Black Lives Matter."

Before the first awards were handed out, Russell had one more request for other athletes and viewers watching at home.

"So where do we go from here? As millions of people of all colors protest, I see a world of hurt, pain and despair. I also see a new generation. A generation that is calling out in desperate need for lasting change," he shared. "To my white teammates and friends, we need you to lead, too. Don't just listen. Help."

The 2020 ESPYS airs Sunday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN.