The 2020 ESPYs were unlike previous shows.

The live show in Los Angeles with a host cracking jokes was replaced by a virtual show hosted by US soccer star Megan Rapinoe, WNBA star Sue Bird and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

And the tone was much more serious. There are racial issues going on in society, and ESPN made sure that was front and center during the two-hour telecast.

During a powerful five-minute intro monologue, Rapinoe spoke about Colin Kaepernick's protests while with the 49ers in 2016.

"Colin Kaepernick never shied away," Rapinoe said. "He knew that discomfort was essential to liberation, and that fighting the oppression against Black people is bigger than sports. So will it be uncomfortable? Yes. In speaking up, will we make mistakes? Yes. That cannot stop us from trying, and not just for a few days or for a few [Instagram] posts."

During another segment, New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins mentioned Kaepernick's name alongside other athletes that have protested in an effort to make a change in society.

"History has shown us the impact only a few voices can make," Jenkins said. "Guys like Tommy Smith and John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Colin Kaepernick. And now it is time for all of us, athletes, coaches and media to do our part to make this country better."

[RELATED: Rapinoe applaudes Curry's work with women]

 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and Warriors coach Steve Kerr also made an appearance in this video, and spoke about the change that they want to see in America.

During the latest episode of the NBC Sports Bay Area's Runnin' Plays podcast, Rapinoe addressed Kaepernick's lack of employment in the NFL since he opted out of his contract in 2017.

"It makes me, like, so pissed, and it makes me so sad," Rapinoe recently told hosts Kerith Burke and Logan Murdock. "I feel like if there was a collective outrage about this, that man would be in the league. If everybody cared about it, he would be in the league."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]