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More than 140 survivors of sexual abuse by a former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University joined hands on stage to be honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs.
The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night in a powerful and solemn closing to the show highlighting the past year’s top athletes and moments in sports.
Gymnast Aly Raisman [url=http://www.patriotsauthorizedshop.com/authentic-trent-brown-jersey]http://www.patriotsauthorizedshop.com/authentic-trent-brown-jersey[/url] , softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez and gymnast Sarah Klein, who said she was Nassar’s first victim 30 years ago, took turns speaking. Klein chided the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State for placing ”money and medals above the safety of child athletes.”
Olympic snowboarding champion Chloe Kim won a leading three ESPYs, including best female athlete, while Alex Ovechkin claimed best male athlete.
Kim had tears in her eyes as she listened to the Arthur Ashe recipients.
”We must start caring about children’s safety more than we care about adults’ reputations,” Klein said. ”If we can just give one person the courage to use their voice, this is worth it.”
Raisman added: ”For too long we were ignored. It could have been avoided. All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar.”
The audience gave the group a prolonged standing ovation and remained on its feet while the women spoke.
”What a powerful stage up here,” host Danica Patrick said before signing off.
Ovechkin joined Roger Federer and Olympic snowboarder Shaun White as double winners. Ovechkin was in Russia with his wife, Nastya, who is 8 months pregnant.
Newly retired racecar driver Patrick became the first woman to host the show, held at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Her opening monologue mostly fell flat, with athletes sitting stone-faced or wincing at many of the jokes.
Kim took female athlete honors over Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin [url=http://www.cowboyscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-leighton-vander-esch-jersey]Authentic Leighton Vander Esch Jersey[/url] , WNBA player Sylvia Fowles and soccer player Julie Ertz.
”This year has been filled with so many incredible memories I will hold onto the rest of my life,” Kim said as she held the silver trophy. ”I really want to thank my family. They’ve sacrificed so much for me.”
Kim also claimed trophies for best female Olympian and female action sports athlete. At the Pyeongchang Games in February, she became the youngest to win a snowboarding medal when the then-17-year-old claimed gold in halfpipe.
Ovechkin, who led the Washington Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship, also won for best NHL player. He beat out Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and fellow first-time nominees Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and James Harden of the Houston Rockets for male athlete.
Federer’s five-set victory at the Australian Open in January for his 20th Grand Slam singles title earned honors for record-breaking performance, and he also received best male tennis player.
White won best Olympic moment with his final-run performance in South Korea featuring back-to-back 1440s to take gold, and best male Olympian.
The Astros were honored as best team for winning the franchise’s first World Series.
LeBron James, soon to be starring across the street at Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers, won best NBA player for the third straight year on his 14th consecutive nomination in the category.
Brady claimed best NFL player, while Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels won MLB player.
On a big night for Olympians, the U.S. women’s hockey team earned best game honors for its shootout victory over Canada in the gold-medal game in South Korea.
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz earned breakthrough athlete honors.
Quarterback Nick Foles received the championship performance trophy for leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl title.
The Minnesota Vikings earned best moment honors for beating the New Orleans Saints on the last play of the NFC divisional playoff game.
Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale won in the best play category for hitting a buzzer-beater in the NCAA women’s title game.
The best coach award was given posthumously to Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel and Chris Hixon, all of whom died in the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Former quarterback Jim Kelly received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance for his struggle with jaw cancer. Fellow NFL Hall of Famers Dan Marino and John Elway presented Kelly with the honor.
This story has been corrected to change the game in which the best moment award occurred to the NFC divisional playoff game instead of the NFC championship game.
Patrick Mahomes II could have spent his offseason just about anywhere [url=http://authenticlosangeleschargers.com/cheap-kyzir-white-jersey]Kyzir White Color Rush Jersey[/url] , back home in Texas perhaps, or maybe even some exotic locale befitting a 20-something starting quarterback in the NFL.
Instead, Mahomes spent it in Kansas City.
Deeply immersed in Kansas City.
He showed up wearing his Chiefs jersey to read ”Oh the Places You Will Go” to a group of children at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. He hung out with fans at a Jason Aldean concert at the downtown Sprint Center.
He wore a cutoff jersey from the T-Bones, a local independent minor league baseball team, and a pair of jorts while attending the NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway. And he threw out the first pitch when the Royals played the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium.
Throw in the dozens of times fans have bumped into Mahomes at restaurants or on the street, usually documented on social media accounts, and it would be safe to call him a man about town.
”I mean, the fans come out every single week and show passion and love for us and our team and what we’re doing here,” Mahomes said, ”so for me, I want to be back in the community, giving back. And just be a part of it, to show the same love and passion to them.”
That earnestness is refreshing in the modern NFL [url=http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jerome-baker-jersey]Dolphins Jerome Baker Jersey[/url] , where large chasms have come to separate players from fans. Rarely do the biggest stars stick around town in the offseason, and even more rarely do players willingly embrace being part of the community.
Just this week, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown bemoaned the constant attention he receives, and the fact that he can’t even work out without people showing up and bothering him.
Mahomes would prefer people show up to work out with him.
The way he’s embraced living in Kansas City is not unlike the way Eric Hosmer and the rest of the Royals embraced the city during their back-to-back World Series runs. They would frequently pop up at local bars and buy a round for the entire place, even celebrating among the fans during playoff triumphs.
Maybe it’s something unique about Kansas City.
More likely, it’s something unique about those individuals.
The way Mahomes has engrossed himself in the city hasn’t been lost on the fanbase, either. He’s only started one game, a Week 17 win over Denver with nothing on the line, and has yet to really prove himself as a legitimate NFL starting quarterback. But he’s become one of the most popular players on the team, and his No. 15 jersey is one of the hottest sellers at local sporting goods stores.
Nor has it been lost on his teammates, who rave about the way the 22-year-old Mahomes has taken on the leadership role that Alex Smith once held, even though he’s one of the youngest guys in the locker room.
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Well, that’s a big change. The Chiefs have playoff aspirations this season, and whether they extend their streak of back-to-back AFC West titles will largely fall on Mahomes’ shoulders.
”He’s just going in there with confidence, talking with everybody, making the calls and staying on top of things,” running back Kareem Hunt said. ”He really wants to win and be a good quarterback.”
That’s the next crucial step for Mahomes: Showing he can win games.
It’s one thing for Mahomes to be a man among the people, popping up all over town and snapping photos and signing autographs until every fan is content.
It’s quite another to keep them happy by performing well on the field, where even the most popular players get lambasted after bad games.
Smith went 50-26 as the starter in Kansas City and many fans couldn’t wait for him to leave.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid doesn’t seem concerned about the pressure getting to the Chiefs’ first-round pick from last year’s draft. He points out that Mahomes had an entire year to learn the ropes, and that he has not only absorbed the Chiefs’ vast playbook but broken down every nuance of it.
”He’s phenomenal,” Reid said. ”He’s got great leadership. He loves playing. He’s absorbing everything and now he’s just got to do it. He’s got to just go practice and work through it and massage each play and see how it works against these different coverages and he’s so willing. That’s the part you appreciate.”
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