ESPYs decision to award Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage has caused some controversy with supporters of other candidates for the award sharing their displeasure on social media.
Caitlyn Jenner’s incredibly brave decision is not brave enough to warrant the ESPYS award for courage, some critics claim. Caitlyn Jenner, the female identity of Olympian Bruce Jenner, revealed her true self on Monday by appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair. She is one of the most high-profile transwomen and her decision to publically share her story has been widely praised and celebrated by her family, friends, fans, social commentators and even the President. ESPN decided to honour Jenner by presenting her with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.
Jenner immediately shared her excitement at the honour online and wondered what she was going to wear for the awards ceremony which takes place on 15th July. The ESPYS executive producer, Maura Mandt, released a statement and explained ESPN’s motivation in honouring Jenner.
“Bruce has received many accolades over the years for being one of the greatest Olympians of our time but The ESPYS are honored to celebrate Bruce becoming Caitlyn,” Mandt said. “She has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces.”
What the hell am I going to wear? http://t.co/HoXNQasAXM— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 2, 2015
Unfortunately, some sports fans claim Jenner is undeserving of the award, at least in comparison with other candidates who have achieved and been celebrated for entirely different things. Some claim the late Lauren Hill, a 19-year-old basketball player at Mount St. John who lost her battle with cancer in April, should posthumously receive the award for raising more than a $1 million for cancer research.
“Lauren Hill deserves the ESPY award for courage, and it should not even be a discussion. What an absolute embarrassment,” one Twitter user wrote, as the NY Post reports.
Whilst most people did not make a direct comparison with Jenner’s situation and still more praised Jenner for living ‘life on her own terms’, others did. One Twitter user even ignorantly claimed “elective surgery isn't courage or bravery.”
Hill’s fans were not the only ones outraged at ESPN’s decision. Noah Galloway, an Iraq veteran who lost an arm and a leg in combat but continues to participate in extreme sports, was another frequently referenced possible candidate for the award. His supports similarly shared their displeasure on Twitter.
#LaurenHillESPY Elective surgery isn't courage or bravery. Fighting brain cancer with grace and dignity at 19 is. Lauren is most deserving.— Kristin (@KristinH1998) June 3, 2015
Lauren Hill deserves the ESPY award for courage, and it should not even be a discussion. What an absolute embarrassment. #LaurenHillESPY— Josh (@WizardofBozBus) June 3, 2015