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The ESPYs are terrible. It is a nauseating pat-me-on-the-back-for-my-diving-catch award show where celebrities and athletes meet for one long night of #sponsored, #branding entertainment in Los Angeles. That being said, the ESPYs usually do one thing right: The Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
Previous winners include Muhammad Ali, Stuart Scott, Jim Valvano, Robin Roberts, Nelson Mandela and Michael Sam. Scott, who gave an inspiring speech at last year’s ESPY awards, died of cancer in January.
So, when ESPN announced on Monday that Caitlyn Jenner would be selected as the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, it deservedly turned some heads, especially when people learned who Jenner beat out for the award.
Caitlyn Jenner wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award. And the runner-up is …. pic.twitter.com/DKUdnPT8Gx
— Gerry Callahan (@GerryCallahan) June 1, 2015
Noah Galloway, who lost an arm and a leg in roadside bomb in Iraq and now competes in Crossfit events nationwide, is rumored to have been the selection before Jenner was hand-picked by ESPN’s ratings-driven executives.
Other names mentioned for the award include TNT court-side reporter Craig Sager, who is currently battling leukemia, former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, a cancer survivor, and Lauren Hill, the Division III basketball player with a terminal brain tumor who played in one game in November before passing away in April.
I can think of no more courageous or deserving athlete this year than the late #LaurenHill – should have been Arthur Ashe recipient IMO
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) June 2, 2015
OJ Brigance, Lauren Hill are both worthy candidates for the Arthur Ashe courage award if it was not about ratings, hits and clicks
— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) June 2, 2015
Lauren Hill played college b-ball while battling a brain tumor and raising $1.5mil for research before she died pic.twitter.com/kC4J5n7O6N
— Clay Strohman (@chipotclay) June 2, 2015
It appears ESPN went for a ratings grab with reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, and that’s a real shame. While she no doubt has courage and is the celebrity face of the under-represented transgender community, her achievements don’t hold a candle to those of Noah Galloway and Lauren Hill.
The ESPYs will have at least one less viewer this year..
Image via Twitter