When ESPN announced that Caitlyn Jenner is going to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, there was some backlash. Many questioned why she would receive such an award when others seemed to be more obvious choices. Many pointed to Lauren Hill, the college basketball player who suffered from terminal brain cancer. Along the way, Lauren, who played as often as she could physically do so, also raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer, according to ET. Hill died in April and would have received the award posthumously.
Others, such as sports broadcaster Bob Costas, even went so far as to imply that the choice was for high ratings, and he called the choice “tabloid play.” And Costas stated that those who decided the award should have been able to find someone “who was much closer to actively involved in sports, who would’ve been deserving of what that award represents,” according to ET Online.
The ESPY awards will be televised on July 15. ESPN producers have now come forth in an interview to explain why Jenner was chosen. Maura Mandt, ESPYs co-executive producer, stands by the decision to give the award to Caitlyn, and gave a statement, according to Hollyscoop and ET Online.
“I think Caitlyn’s decision to publicly come out as a transgender woman and live as Caitlyn Jenner displayed enormous courage and self-acceptance. Bruce Jenner could have easily gone off into the sunset as this American hero and never have dealt with this publicly. Doing so took enormous courage. He was one of the greatest athletes of our time.”
She also stated that she hoped that the choice would educate people about the transgender issue and create more acceptance and said the following in defending the decision: “That is what the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is about, somebody from the athletic community who has done something that transcends sport. One of the biggest platforms the Arthur Ashe Foundation has is educational, and I think in this choice we have the opportunity to educate people about this issue and hopefully change and possibly save some lives. I think that is why it was the right choice.”
Mandt noted that Jenner was chosen using the same process used for prior recipients. The process includes meeting with the potential award recipient and consulting with people within the community of the potential recipient as well as people from the Ashe Foundation.
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Caitlyn now can look forward to the awards ceremony without too much worry about the investigation into the car crash in which she was involved on the Pacific Coast Highway. According to an article in the Inquisitr, investigators concluded that Jenner was negligent in the crash, which killed his neighbor, but that she should not be charged with anything more serious than misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
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