There has been much backlash since it was announced that Caitlyn Jenner would receive the ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.
One New York Post columnist, Jonathan V. Last, has made the case that Cincinnati Bengals’ player Devon Still and his cancer-stricken daughter, Leah, deserve the award a hundred-fold over Jenner.
“Bob Costas is getting heat for daring to suggest that giving Caitlyn Jenner the ESPN Arthur Ashe award is preposterous. He’s right, of course. And not just because giving the award to Jenner is a publicity stunt, but because there was an obvious choice for 2015: Leah and Devon Still.”
— Acculturated (@Acculturated) June 14, 2015
According to ESPN, Devon Still rose in the world of professional football from humble beginnings in Camden, New Jersey.
While living the dream and playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, Devon Still learned in June of 2014 that his 4-year-old daughter, Leah, had stage 4 neuroblastoma, with a 50-50 chance of survival.
Leah Still became the darling of Bengals fans and later the NFL. Over the months, the Bengals announced that it would donate a big chunk of any sales from Devon’s jersey to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Devon Still has never been a star player. However, fans bought more than 15,000 Still jerseys and other teams around the league began to support Leah’s cause.
— The View (@TheView) June 3, 2015
The NFL was brought to its knees over images of Leah being able to watch her dad, Devon Still, play for the first time after she finished chemotherapy.
During the rivalry-ridden Browns-Bengals game, Leah Still made a heart-wrenching appearance wearing a surgical mask. The reception she received was monumental, with some of the toughest men in the NFL being broken by the courage of the sweet little 4-year-old girl.
At the end of the game, the Bengals and Leah Still presented Cincinnati Children’s with a check for $1.3 million, which was the money raised from sales of Devon Still’s jersey, as well as other donations, to be used for cancer research.
In March, she was declared cancer-free. She and Devon Still continue to fundraise for other children suffering from cancer, and Devon Still is working to set up a foundation to help families stricken with pediatric neuroblastoma.
— PhillyVoice (@thephillyvoice) June 10, 2015
Jonathan V. Last makes the case that the courage Devon Still and daughter Leah have demonstrated is the epitome of the meaning behind the Arthur Ashe award.
“What she and her father did goes far beyond perseverance. If you want an iconic picture of courage, put the Caitlyn Jenner come-hither Vanity Fair cover next to the photo of Devon Still crying on the field at Foxboro as he realizes that thousands of people he’s never met are pulling for his daughter.
“Leah and Devon Still have fought with courage and have raised almost a million and a half dollars for cancer research.
“Caitlyn Jenner spent thousands of dollars on breast implants and got a reality show. You tell me who’s more courageous.
“When you put those two images side-by-side, giving the Arthur Ashe award to Jenner isn’t just preposterous. It’s insulting.”
Leah Still continues with her struggle. She has been hospitalized for 41 days straight, battling a side effect of her treatment. On Sunday, Devon Still posted a sweet tweet of himself with his smiling, courageous daughter.
— Devon Still (@Dev_Still71) June 14, 2015
What are your thoughts? Should Devon Still and daughter Leah be the recipients of the ESPY award?
[Image via Getty Images]