"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.