Player Who Shielded Others From Gunfire Will Receive ESPY Courage Award

Player Who Shielded Others From Gunfire Will Receive ESPY Courage Award

Fulton High School’s football team posted this photo of Zaevion William Dobson with the caption, “We want you to know that Zaevion was an outstanding young man who will always be remembered as a hero,” on Dec. 18, 2015.

A Tennessee high school football player who died last December while shielding three girls from gunfire will receive this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs tonight.

Zaevion Dobson died while shielding three girls, who were unharmed, from gunfire when several men drove into his neighborhood and opened fire, according to Knoxville police. Police believed the shootings were gang-related and Zaevion, only 15 at the time, was not specifically targeted.

Zaevion’s mother, Zenobia Dobson, will accept the award on her son’s behalf tonight when the ESPYs honor the teen’s courageous act.

“I’m just so honored to be his mother,” Zenobia Dobson told the Associated Press. “I will always love him in my heart, but since his passing, I love him even more. I draw closer to him every day. I visit him at the cemetery every day, and I just talk to him every day, every single day. Even when I wake up in the morning, his picture is right there on my dresser and I can look at him. Even if my eyes are closed, I still say, ‘Good morning, Zaevion,’ or ‘Good night, Zaevion,’ ‘I love you, Zaevion,’ ‘I miss you, Zaevion.'”

Zaevion’s brothers, Zack Dobson and Markastin Taylor, will also attend today’s ceremony hosted by WWE star John Cena, ESPN announced in a statement.

“Zaevion’s actions to risk his own life for others demonstrate the true meaning of the word courage, and his boundless bravery has inspired many. We are proud to honor him with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s ESPYs,” ESPYs Executive Producer Maura Mandt said. “By celebrating Zaevion’s legacy, we hope to bring more attention to this serious issue and continued focus on the tragic loss of lives to gun violence.”

Zaevion was a sophomore in high school and played for the Fulton High School football team, coached by Rob Black, who will also attend the award ceremony tonight, according to his Twitter account.

Zavion’s passing has deeply affected his community, and raised calls from the Knoxville mayor and President Obama to end gun violence.

“He was really one of our success stories,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “Involved in sports, a mentee of one of our organizations in town. But still he falls victim to this.”

President Obama honored Zaevion in a tweet, saying, “Zaevion Dobson died saving three friends from getting shot. He was a hero at 15. What’s our excuse for not acting?”

Categories: National News