Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce) will be given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY’s this July, and Bob Costas disapproves.
Jenner’s unveiling of her new identity was a courageous and inspiring act, and though Costas agrees with this fact, he also believes ESPN awarding Jenner is a “crass exploitation play.”
In an interview with “The Dan Patrick Show,” Costas explained his issue with ESPN’s decision to award Jenner.
“I wish Caitlyn all the happiness in the world and all the peace of mind in the world,” Costas said. “However, it strikes me that awarding the Arthur Ashe award to Caitlyn Jenner is just a crass exploitation play. It’s a tabloid play. In the broad world of sports, I’m pretty sure they could have found—and this is not anything against Caitlyn Jenner—I’m pretty sure they could have found someone who was much closer to actively involved in sports, who would have been deserving of what that award represents.
“That’s not to say that it doesn’t take some measure of personal courage to do what Caitlyn Jenner has done, but I think that every year we look across the landscape of sports, and we find prominent people and kids in high school and amateur athletes who I think more closely fit the description of what they’re looking for or should be looking for there. And I think this is a play to pump up audience the way lots of things are put on television, to attract eyeballs, not because of the validity, but because of whatever the kind of gawker factor is.”
It’s a fair point to say others are deserving of the award. For example, Lauren Hill would have made sense as a recipient as her story was tremendously courageous and inspiring. Still, the award is given to courageous sports figures, and Jenner fits the criteria whether you agree with the choice or not.