Devon Still of the Cincinnati Bengals spoke candidly and from the heart Wednesday night (July 15) while accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance award at the 2015 ESPYs on behalf of his daughter, Leah.
Leah, who for the past year has been fighting a rare pediatric cancer that’s now in remission, couldn’t make the ceremony as she’s undergoing treatment to help rebuild her immune system.
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The defensive lineman, while fighting back tears, opened up about the hurt and heartache he experienced while trying to stay strong for his daughter, even admitting to wanting to turn to alcohol to cope with the pain.
As the 6’5 New Jersey native detailed how he’s been able to persevere, the entire audience tried their best to fight back tears throughout the moving speech.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house (or online.) Take a look at some of the support Devon Still received after his touching acceptance speech and watch the clip below.
Not a dry eye in my house (it’s just me, but you know…) #ESPYS #LeahStrong
— Iyana Robertson (@sincerely_iyana) July 16, 2015
I couldn’t be in that audience. Makeup running everywhere. #ESPYS
— Ashlee Nicole Spills (@anicolespills) July 16, 2015
Well done, Devon Still, well done. 👊🏽#LeahStrong #ESPYs #wsbtv
— Jovita Moore (@JovitaMoore) July 16, 2015
this is an amazing speech its so real!!! #ESPYS 😢
— Bea (@missBeatriiz) July 16, 2015
this moment is helping to reframe Black fatherhood in the collective imagination #ESPYS
— MichaelaAngela Davis (@MichaelaAngelaD) July 16, 2015
Devon Still is what every young, African American father should strive to be. You are a great man & father, bro! #ESPYS
— J. Hall (@Mr_1ce_Cold) July 16, 2015
Really, really impressed with @Dev_Still71 It takes strong person to reveal their darkest moments and challenge the current system. #ESPYS
— Trenni Kusnierek (@trenni) July 16, 2015
I wasn’t ready. #ESPYSpic.twitter.com/ln4pocnbl5
— ?????? (@callmedollar) July 16, 2015