(LOS ANGELES) — Zaevion Dobson, the 15-year-old Tennessee high school football player who was killed by gunfire last December while protecting two young women, was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2016 ESPYs.
His mother, Zenobia Dobson, and his two brothers accepted the award in his honor.
In her speech, Zenobia Dobson, who also lost her 12-year-old nephew to a drive-by shooting earlier this year, called for harsher gun laws and urged athletes to do what they can to improve their communities.
“I’m here to fight back. We as a country need to take a stand to consider the effects of gun violence on families throughout America,” she said to wild applause. “All the athletes in this room — you have a lot of power. People look up to you. I know Zaevion did, and I urge you to think tonight about why he died and what you can do tomorrow to prevent the next innocent young man or woman from being lost as well.”
Dobson’s speech was the similar in tone to the one delivered by Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James at the start of the show, calling for an end to police brutality and gun violence. Like Dobson, they encouraged their fellow athletes to use their influence for good.
“We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence. We do. But that’s not acceptable,” James said. “It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing to create change?’ Let’s use this moment as call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence.”
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.