Caitlyn Jenner is wrong choiceLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Caitlyn Jenner is wrong choice for Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Now that we have all had a chance to absorb seeing Bruce Jenner transition into Caitlyn Jenner and state our positions on social media, I thought it would be a good idea to examine the decision by ESPN to award her the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at next month’s ESPY Awards.  While I have written in the past of the courageousness of Jenner for going public, to award Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is nothing more than an attempt to draw ratings which only makes a mockery of both the award and Jenner’s transition.



I admire NBC’s Bob Costas for having the courage to publicly call out ESPN for their stunt.  Not many in his line of work would do so knowing they risk losing their job for being politically incorrect.  However, to present Caitlyn Jenner an award for courageousness in sports makes about as much sense as awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to  Kim Kardashian just because she visited her native Armenia.  For starters, Caitlyn Jenner never was, is not, and never will be an athlete of any distinction.  Why then would anyone giver her an athletic award?  Her decision to become a woman had nothing to do with sports.  It was centered entirely around her gender identification and the struggle to come to terms with it.

Ah, “But Bruce Jenner was an athlete,” you say.  Yes, he was – 40 years ago.  Most of the American public has no recollection of Bruce Jenner winning Olympic gold in Montreal in 1976.  In fact, I would venture to guess more Americans know Bruce for his connection with the Kardashian clan and their idiotic reality series, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, than they do for his Olympic past.  And remember, ESPN is not honoring Bruce because Bruce is effectively dead, although he may be more deserving for the award for defeating the drug propelled Russians and East Germans than for transitioning into a woman.

Over the course of his athletic career, Arthur Ashe was a champion of injustice and sacrificed greatly for speaking his mind on numerous social issues, something lacking in today’s athletes.  His career over lapped Jenner’s and while the African American Ashe competed in a largely white sport, he did not let that keep him from taking unpopular stances that did not set well within the white run sporting world.  Jenner, on the other hand, chose to profit greatly from the white sponsors who saw him as everyone’s All-American male while choosing to remain silent.  While I understand the reasoning behind his silence, had Jenner gone public 35 years ago, he would have been a revolutionizing figure today.  To put it another way, say Michael Jordan were to speak out against the way young black males conduct themselves  when he is 65, it would not have near the effect it might have had when he was 28, nor would it cost him nearly as much just in terms of endorsements.

Arthur Ashe (Wikipeda)

Arthur Ashe (Wikipeda)

Was this past year so lacking in courageous athletes that ESPN had to pull a publicity stunt?  Lets face it, a month of promoting Caitlyn Jener’s first ever public appearance will pull in more viewers than actually honoring a worthy athlete for their courage.  It’s why ESPN will not give the Ashe award to the far more deserving Lauren Hill, the young woman who bravely fought a losing public battle with her brain tumor while raising more than $1.5 million dollars in research.  It’s also why ESPN won’t be giving the award to Noah Galloway, the Army veteran who lost both an arm and a leg in Iraq only to now compete in Crossfit events and ultra marathons.  In fact, anyone from the Wounded Warriors Project is more deserving than Caitlyn Jenner, but none will bring the viewership Jenner will provide.

What strikes me through their selection process is ESPN chose to run with a trending product than to do the courageous thing and award a more deserving recipient.  This should not surprise us since last year they did the same thing only it was Michael Sam and his coming out instead of Jenner transitioning.  Since it does not appear ESPN will award an actual athlete for their courageousness at the risk of lower ratings, I can only hope Caitlyn Jenner better handles her new found fame and fortune than Bruce did after winning the decathlon in 1976.  After all, isn’t it a shame to see the same mistakes repeated?

About the author

James Moore

Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program. Contact the author.

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