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The Best Moments of the 2014 ESPYS

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The Best Moments of the 2014 ESPYS 

The 2014 ESPY Awards was a night that celebrated excellence and accomplishments. Along with Drake’s comedy and the distribution of awards, there were some very touching moments that made everyone realize that the people being honored were a part of something bigger than just sports. 

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Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL. On Wednesday night, Sam was the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. After an emotional video reel which revealed his journey to the NFL, Michael Sam received a standing ovation as he took the stage. 

Sam said,

This year I had a lot of experience being part of something bigger than myself. At times, I felt like I’d been living in a massive storm, … but the lessons learned – love, respect, and being true to yourself – will never leave me.

He discussed the importance of staying true to yourself, and quoted Arthur Ashe saying, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” He discussed the importance of football and how it made him who he was. The most emotional moment was when Michael revealed an experience he had with someone who was considering committing suicide, but was moved not to because of his public announcement. He finished this story saying, “It’s amazing to think that by doing what we can, we can all touch, change and even save lives.” 

Towards the end of his speech, Sam thanked his Mizzou family, Rams coaches and teammates, family and boyfriend Vito Cammisano, telling him, “You are my inspiration.” 

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He ended by acknowledging how great of an honor this award was, and said that he would spend the rest of his life trying to live up to it along with trying to become the best football player he could. He closed by speaking directly to those out there, especially young people “who are feeling like they don’t fit in and will never be accepted, please know this: great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself.”

As Michael Sam walked off the stage, he received a second standing ovation. 

It is moments like these that make everyone realize that there is so much more to playing a sport. These athletes have huge influences on people especially while in the midst of overcoming his or her own battle. It is for people like Michael Sam that make people feel like they are not alone in the world, and that other people understand what he or she is going through.

Whether it is having the courage to openly be who you are, or having the strength to overcome an illness, we cannot help but be in awe at the influence of these people.

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Another incredibly touching moment was when Sports Center anchor Stuart Scott was honored with the ‘Jimmy V Perseverance Award.’ Scott is currently battling aggressive cancer, and in his speech he credited the people around him who fought on his behalf when he no longer had the strength to do so. He said, “This whole fight, this journey thing, is not a solo venture, this is something that requires support.” Scott discussed how our life journey is about people who touch us and that they help us never give up.

Upon receiving this award, that he did not think he deserved, he acknowledged that he now has the responsibility to never give up. He said that he is not special, but that he just listened to everything Jimmy V said.

One of the most beautiful moments of his speech was when he said, “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, while you live and the manner in which you live.” 

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He concluded his speech by saying that he can never give up because he can never stop being a father to his children. He then described his children as his “heartbeat,”  and asked his younger daughter to join him onstage. 

It is from the words of people like Michael Sam and Stuart Scott that we realize that everyone has their own battle and from there we can regain focus on what we are dealing with. These are the celebrities to the look up to, because they are paving the way for more people to open up about what is going in their own lives. 

Watch the full videos of Michael Sam’s and Stuart Scott’s Speeches! 

– Olivia Guidera 

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