NBC Sports’ Bob Costas has referred to it as crass exploitation and a tabloid play, and I couldn’t agree more.
While attempting to become our country’s moral compass, ESPN will profiteer on prurient news having absolutely nothing to do with sports.
ESPN fans have already weighed in by employing terms like embarrassing, utter travesty and a sick joke to describe how they feel.
However, ESPN’s inexplicable decision is certain to boost its underwhelming 2014 ESPY results of only 2.2 million viewers.
The sports media giant will present the sports world’s most prestigious individual honor, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, to a person who simply does not deserve it.
When the media company should have stayed at least a pole vault length away from news surrounding Bruce Jenner’s transition to womanhood, the sports media giant dove into the conversation head first.
Yes, the polarizing news about Bruce Jenner, as in the former Olympic hero and world record holding decathlete, has spawned passionate debate.
From the front of a 1977 Wheaties cereal box to the 2015 cover of Vanity Fair Magazine, the 1976 gold medal winning Olympian shockingly transformed before our eyes.
Bruce Jenner, now known as Caitlyn Jenner, eschewed his once chiseled physique for cleavage, high heels and pouting lips.
The 65 year-old man, whom respected journalist Diane Sawyer interviewed in April of this year, has become a woman – literally.
Following ten hours of plastic surgery, a female version of the old Bruce Jenner emerged a few months ago. His – correction – her story has dominated news across all traditional and new media outlets since Vanity Fair published the first ever transgendered debutante on its cover.
Unlike the purported millions of people from around the world, who according to Jenner, displayed an overwhelming outpouring of support for his journey, I just don’t get it.
For starters, I cannot comprehend why a person would want to change sexes. What motivates someone to do that? What circumstances or relationships in an individual’s life prompt him or her to make such an outrageous, life-changing decision?
But, even if a person chooses to become more at home in the body of the opposite sex, how does that qualify to become an Arthur Ashe Award recipient? It doesn’t!
Sadly, it only undermines the extraordinary value and integrity of ESPN’s top annual honor. Jenner and his estranged Kardashian clan have always been about themselves and really have never given back to society for the wealth they amassed from their wildly popular, melodramatic reality television series that offers no redeeming societal value.
Secondly, why would ESPN opt to get embroiled in controversy by awarding Jenner with its prestigious Arthur Ashe Award for Courage? My only conclusion involves ratings and the opportunity to charge higher fees to advertisers.
ESPN made a very poor decision.
The troubled Jenner needs mature counseling, sensible life coaching and genuine, unconditional love from caring family and friends not named Kardashian. The last thing Jenner needed was a sex change.
Over the past year, a several athletes unwittingly emerged as worthy candidates to receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.
Specifically, now deceased college basketball player Lauren Hill, who lost a valiant struggle to brain tumor, and Cincinnati Bengals DT Devon Still and his daughter Leah, who battled pediatric cancer together, were infinitely more worthy and should have been chosen over Jenner.
Without doubt, both courageous candidates proved just how much more deserving they were than the troubled Jenner. By the way, I wish the new Caitlyn Jenner no ill will in her new complicated existence.
Unfortunately, ESPN chose to overlook those who have struggled with life threatening illnesses in favor of a person who inexplicably elected to change sexes. And, that is unconscionable.
Foolishly ESPN’s decision involved money. The media company passed over both Hill and the Stills for one simple reason – ratings.
Here’s hoping the sports watching public tunes out tonight’s ESPY Awards and let’s ESPN know to stick to covering sports and not to establishing itself as our nation’s moral compass while profiteering from trending news.
MIKE on sports!