Athletes attending the 2022 ESPYS couldn't help but notice one sports star missing in the audience.
During the live telecast, host Stephen Curry joined WNBA players Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith to speak out in support of Brittney Griner, who remains detained in Russia.
While Stephen said he was "proud" to announce the WNBA as the sports humanitarian league of the year, he wanted to acknowledge Brittney's absence from the sport.
"We cannot stop fighting for her," he said inside the Dolby Theatre on July 20. "We cannot stop believing for her. We will not stop hoping for the day we can welcome her home safely."
Brittney is an eight-time WNBA All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist. For 153 nights, she has been detained in Russia after she was arrested in February at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for allegedly possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. On July 7, the basketball player pleaded guilty to drug charges and said she had not acted deliberately.
"There are a lot of people working hard now to secure her release," Stephen said. "But as we hope for the best, we urge the entire global sports community to continue to stay energized on her behalf. Because Britney is not just on the Phoenix Mercury or a member of the team in Russia or just an Olympian. She is one of us, the team of athletes in the room tonight, and all over the world. A team that has nothing to do with politics or global conflict."
Nneka added that "the more that we say her name, the louder our voices will be."
As for Skylar, she explained that the "more that we see her face, the closer that we will feel to her and her to us."
Soon after the live moment, Megan Rapinoe accepted the award for Best Play thanks to her corner kick goal. During her acceptance speech, the soccer player also voiced her support for Brittney.
Nneka Ogwumike, Stephen Curry and Skylar Diggins-Smith share a powerful message about Brittney Griner.— ESPN (@espn) July 21, 2022
"We cannot stop fighting for her. We cannot stop believing for her. And we will not stop hoping for the day when we can welcome her home safely." pic.twitter.com/gsxFD0iUT8
While she told the audience that everyone should enjoy the night and celebrate all the accomplishments in sports, Megan argued that it's time to go to work tomorrow.
"Every time you see B.G.'s face, every time we say her name on social media and in interviews, it puts pressure on everyone," she said. "It lets B.G. know also above everything that we love her and that we miss her and that we are thinking about her all of the time and doing everything we can to get her out."
"We have not done enough," Megan continued. "We can do more. We can support her more and let her know that we love her so much."