Bob Costas bemoaned ESPN’s pick of ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, labeling the selection as “crass.” The longtime sports commentator asserted that the 24-hour sports network could have found someone who was still “actively involved in sports” rather than the transgendered gold medal winner.
“I wish Caitlyn all the happiness in the world and all the peace of mind in the world,” Costas told Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show Monday. “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.
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“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,” Costas added.
Patrick agreed, noting that no matter who received the award, there would be some sort of “exploitative” factor involved–even if the late Lauryn Hill was posthumously selected.
The former ESPN anchor recollected that it was very difficult to get athletes to come to the ESPY’s during his time at the network, that “we were paying people to show up” as opposed to now, when “It [feels] a little too reality show, tabloid show, you know, all of a sudden let’s just jump in with Caitlyn Jenner,” he said.
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“It feels like, let’s buy in to the ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ culture that has overtaken a good part of the cultural landscape,” concluded Costas. “That’s a train that’s left the station and you and I can’t slow it down no matter how we feel about it.”
h/t: New York Daily News
Should Jenner have been named the winner of the Arthur Ashe Award? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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