Not long after Caitlyn Jenner revealed herself to the world in a Vanity Fair photo shoot, the producers of the ESPY Awards -- Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards -- jumped up to announce that they were awarding the former Bruce Jenner an award.
Caitlyn Jenner is specifically to be the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, an honor that went to Michael Sam last year.
Right away, the decision was greeted with applause and controversy.
Bob Costas said of the award, “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.”
Dont care what you say, if you think Caitlyn Jenner deserves this ESPY instead of someone like Pete Frates, get your head checked
— Brian Ferrara (@BFerrara113) July 14, 2015
Now Maura Mandt, co-executive producer of the ESPYs, is responding to the criticism of the choice to award Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe.
“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."
Directly speaking to Costas' assertion that the Arthur Ashe Courage Award should be for a more recently-active athlete, Mandt said, "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.”
Caitlyn.... Jenner does not deserve that espy -_-
— Marquis Austin (@swagg_me_out) July 8, 2015