Sam, who is the NFL's first openly gay player, tells the audience, 'Great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself,' while the ESPN anchor shares some words about life.
People who attended the 2014 ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles were deeply moved by two powerful speeches delivered by Michael Sam and Stuart Scott on Wednesday, July 16. Sam, who is is the NFL's first openly gay player, gave some encouragement words so that people were not afraid to be themselves, while the ESPN anchor shared some life lessons he learned while battling cancer.
Sam was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award after he came out as gay earlier this year. Quoting Arthur Ashe's, "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can," the emotional Sam added, "Those were the words to live by, whether you're black or white, young or old, straight or gay."
In the end of the speech, he shared a story of how a gay woman told him she decided not to think about suicide after he came out as gay. "To anyone out there, especially young people feeling like you don't fit in, or are not accepted, great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself," he continued. Audience gave him a standing ovation after his speech.
Scott, who was honored with Jimmy V Perseverance Award for his ongoing battle with cancer since 2007, shared that he kept fighting the disease because of his family. "To be honored with this... I know I have a responsibility to never give up. I'm not special; I just listened to what the man said," he said, referring to the award's namesake, Jim Valvano.
The ESPN anchor added that he was not alone in the battle and that his family was always with him. "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," he addressed the audience from the stage.
"The best thing I've ever done, the best thing I will ever do is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni. I can't ever give up because I can't leave my daughters. I love you girls more than I will ever be able to express. You are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage tonight because of you," he added, receiving a hug from one of his daughters who were among the audience members.