No less than former President Bill Clinton weighed in on the opening of ESPN’s ESPY awards Wednesday night, as the broadcast began with a solemn plea by a superstar quartet for an end to racial profiling and gun violence, and a call for all professional athletes to “do better.”
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) July 14, 2016
LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, CP3 open ESPYs with statement on gun violence. https://t.co/6XVrjyyHyy
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) July 14, 2016
ICYMI: Here's the powerful message from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony to open the show. https://t.co/Cab78Fapoo
— ESPYS (@ESPYS) July 14, 2016
— ESPN (@espn) July 14, 2016
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 14, 2016
Video of the opening segment is everywhere; fortunately, there’s also a transcript.
— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) July 14, 2016
While Chris Paul recited a list of black men (and a boy) whose names have become inseparable from the Black Lives Matter movement, Dwayne Wade also acknowledged gun violence in Chicago, where the Chicago Tribune reports that 43 people were shot over the previous weekend, bringing the total number of shootings so far this year to 2,100, an increase of 700 over last year.
Of course, naming all of the gun homicide victims in Chicago would have taken up a good chunk of the broadcast, but surely the names of the police shot in Dallas could have been squeezed in. James did call for his peers to renounce all violence, after all.
@ESPYS why don't you mention the names of the police officers who were shot??
— Jennifer Flatt (@jennflatt) July 14, 2016
— Olivia (@OliviaC019) July 14, 2016
— The Nurse (@DFWNurseAnnie) July 14, 2016
— Garrett Farren (@Gman810) July 14, 2016
— Stephen Thompson (@AFC_Stephen) July 14, 2016
No such thing as shoot to kill. Police shoot to stop the threat. This isn't the movies. Its life or death in an instant. Good v Evil #ESPYS
— Mike Amrock (@MikeAmrock) July 14, 2016
The words “powerful message” have been pretty firmly attached to the video already, but it’s also a bit of a mess. The system is broken, America is plagued with injustice, distrust, and anger, and the urgency for change is at an all-time high. So … do better?
Watching opening of the #ESPYS All about change: Challenging what is imagine what can be. Everyone has a role in moving humanity forward
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) July 14, 2016
Could have sworn we voted to create change in 2008. What happened? https://t.co/yCN7mqCVko
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 14, 2016
It turns out that words were inadequate — quite the realization after 7-and-a-half years.
For some, the opening of the ESPYs did inspire real change.
Congratulations #ESPYS, you managed to get me to change the channel in less than 4 minutes.
— Jim Pasinski (@JimInBuffalo) July 14, 2016