When I hear or think of the word courage, the first thing that comes to mind is the military. Pondering it a couple more seconds, policemen and fire fighters come to mind. Thinking a bit deeper, a doctor saving lives or a teacher molding our youth pop through my head. As I think a little harder, a person battling a sickness comes to mind when thinking of courage.
As you can see, one of the things that didnt come to mind was Caitlin Jenner. I will get it out of the way here at the start; I think what Caitlin Jenner did was courageous. But to call her courageous compared to some of the other things that come to mind is an absolute joke. An absolute embarrassment to be frank.
Enter your newest 24 hour soap opera network ESPN. For most of my life, I considered ESPN a reputable network. In fact, the first thing I flipped on as the TV came on was ESPN. I remember staying home from school sick and watching sportscenter on repeat. Forget about doing that now! Good luck finding a highlight on sportscenter.
What you will find is some assinine topic with two clowns arguing back and forth. You will find ESPN reporting stories that used to be relegated to the deadspins of the world. Dont get me wrong, the deadspins of the world have their place and I do frequent the website. I never would have thought this is what ESPN would become. Aside from a live event, the station may as well be renamed TMZ.
Just when I thought they couldnt want to garner any more drama and publicity, they stooped to their lowest. The farce of an award show called the ESPY’s will now have 3 rings and be sponsored by Barnum and Bailey.
Since the inception of the award show, they have presented the Arthur Ashe Award for someone who has displayed courage, or actions that transcend sports.
The winners since it started in 1993 are as follows:
1993- Jim Valvano
1994- Steve Palermo
1995- Howard Cosell
1996- Loretta Claiborne
1997- Muhammad Ali
1998- Dean Smith
1999- Billie Jean King
2000- William David Sanders
2001- Cathy Freeman
2002- Tood Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, Jeremy Glick
2003- Pat Tillman and Kevin Tillman
2004- George Weah
2005- Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and Jim MacLaren
2006- Roia Ahamd and Shamila Kohestani
2007- Trevor Ringland and David Cullen
2008- Tommie Smith and John Carlos
2009- Nelson Mandela
2010- Family of Ed Thomas
2011- Dewey Bozella
2012- Pat Summitt
2013- Robin Roberts
2014- Michael Sam
Thinking logically after seeing this list, it would make sense to me that the award would go to a person like Noah Galloway or Lauren Hill or a Devon Still. There are many coaches out there who would have been better selections. I have read stories locally about coaches making the most of what they have and setting examples in Camden, NJ where there isnt much and there arent many good examples. A story which received national attentiiiion bcause of the success was Taney Little League from Philadelphia. On a more national scale, a high school football coach in Ferguson Missouri dealing with the turmoil from the racism.
But then again I did say thinking logically and not thinking about entertainment value. Or as Bob Costas put it a tabloid play. I cant imagine how hard it must be to sit down with all the money Jenner has made and will make from the reality TV shows. It must take a lot of courage.
I have no problem if E! SPN wanted to honor a transgender individual. Anyone other than Jenner would fit the bill. Ya know, someone who doesnt have millions to fall back on should they “lose everything”
I have heard and read any publicity positive or negative is a good thing. So E! SPN has accomplished that from me by getting me to blog about this. But needless to say, Ill lock myself in a closet before I put on that “award show” tonight.
E! SPN didnt have the courage to give it to the right person. I can only hope after Jenner walks through the 3 ring circus on stage she shows some courage and declines the award and gives it to someone who is worth mentioning in the same breath as a Pat Tillman or a Jim Valvano or an Arthur Ashe. I wont hold my breath though.