This is the End of the ESPYS

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Really ESPN Caitlyn Jenner

Recently, there has been a lot of criticism towards Rolling Stone magazine about putting Kim Kardashian on the cover of their recent issue. While some believe this is the beginning of the end of the publication, I think the end began weeks earlier when they admitted to botching their investigative story into cases of alleged rape at the University of Virginia.

If the decision to put Mrs. Kanye West on the cover is what’s causing many to start questioning the integrity of Rolling Stone as the leading authority in music and journalism, you can apply that same theory to ESPN when it comes to sports after Caitlyn Jenner was named as this year’s recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at last week’s ESPYS awards show. I can’t think for the life of me why they gave the award to Jenner.

This award is given to someone (namely an athlete) who had to overcome obstacles to get ahead in life and offers inspiration for others to do the same. Cancer, a debilitating injury, or being robbed of an opportunity because an act of crime are just some examples. Lifestyle changes like deciding to go from a man to a woman is not a reason to give this kind of award. Ashe, the late tennis great who died in 1993 after contracting AIDS through a blood transfusion, must be rolling in his grave after hearing about this.

Giving Jenner the Arthur Ashe award is insulting to those who have faced real hurdles. Earlier in the award’s ceremony, they featured Lauren Hill, a young woman who had an inoperable brain tumour and wanted to fulfill her dream of playing on a US College basketball team. She passed away earlier this year. That kind of story draws inspiration. A sex change? Not a chance. I would bet the same people who criticize critics like me are the same ones who are just as disgusted at Kardashian on the cover of Rolling Stone. Kind of ironic that I mention these two in this story since the former Olympian Bruce Jenner was once married to Kim’s mom.

But should we really be surprised by all of this? I don’t think ESPN (or any major sports network both in the US and here in Canada) has made an effort to focus on sports in recent years. It has for all intense and purposes become what Rolling Stone magazine is today.

This to me is the end of the ESPYS. Or as a hockey fan might say: “The show jumped Joe Thornton”. The ESPYS used to be a way to honour the best athletic performances of the past year. Now it is just like any other award show, a way to make socially-charged speeches and wear symbols to show they care. Neither I or anyone with a like mind can take this award show seriously anymore.

Also see:

Sports is Not a Platform for Activism
Sports Media is Becoming Boring
Everyone’s a Critic

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