Who really deserves the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY’S?
In early June, reports came out that Caitlyn Jenner would be awarded with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s ESPYS. Outrage throughout social media. How or why would ESPN want to celebrate a transgender who has not been relevant in the sports world since 1976? I had to look up the true definition for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Below is what I came across on ESPN.com.
“The Ashe Award is one of the most prestigious in sports. Recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost. The award is inspired by the life that Ashe lived, using his fame and stature to advocate for human rights, although, at the time, those positions may have been unpopular and were often controversial. From speaking out against apartheid in South Africa to revealing to the world his struggle with AIDS, Ashe never backed away from a difficult issue, even though doing so would have been easier. Winners of the Ashe Award strive to carry on Ashe’s legacy in their own lives – inspired by those who do so each day.”
What about Noah Galloway, or Lauren Hill? Don’t know their story? Well, you should look it up. Galloway is an Army Veteran who lost an arm and a leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq, and now competes in Crossfit events, runs marathons, and competed in the 58 hour Death Race. Lauren Hill is the 19-year-old Division III women’s college basketball player who passed away after her battle with brain cancer. Hill touched a nation with her desire to play for Mount St. Joseph’s. It brought the sports world together with many famous athletes tweeting at Lauren wishing her their best. It was then that #RIPLaurenHill was trending for a couple of weeks.
It’s unfortunate that ESPN can’t rescind their decision and make a change. Twitter should be buzzing again when the award is announced Wednesday evening. NBC sports commentator Bob Costas may have said it best, “It strikes me that awarding the Arthur Ashe to Caitlyn Jenner is just a crass exploitation play, a tabloid play. In the broad world of sports — and this is not anything against Caitlyn Jenner — I am pretty sure they could have found someone who was much closer to actively [being] involved in sports who would have been deserving of what that award represents.”
Costas then went on to wish Jenner by saying, “All the happiness and peace of mind in the world” but reiterated the selection was a “play to pump up audience, the way lots of things are on television.”
– Brian Wolf, @bwolf_17