The former athlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner will receive the Authur Ashe Award for Courage at next month’s ESPY’s. It is an outrageous choice but also expected, given that the sports media are just like the rest of the media. By that I mean they have their biases, favorites, and causes. Given that aggressive promotion of gay BLT causes ranks high on the mainstream media’s agenda, Bruce Jenner’s sex change is made to order. Of course, Bruce Jenner hasn’t contributed anything to the sporting world since his Olympic super-stardom in the 1970’s. Yet somehow his decision to undergo elective surgery makes him a hero above true heroes.
The outrage that ESPN’s decision has provoked is merited. One favorite to win the award was Lauren Hill, who played basketball for Mount St. Joseph last season despite battling brain cancer. (The 19-year-old lost that battle on April 10.)
A second favorite was Noah Galloway, who lost most of an arm and leg fighting in Iraq, but still competes in extreme sports.
Hill and Galloway are unquestionably heroes. Either would have made a far more sensible and relevant choice for the courage award. The former athlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner is not a hero. At one time he was the greatest male athlete in the world. But that was four decades ago. Undergoing a sex-operation does not a hero make. That ESPN has chosen Jenner to be the face of its courage award renders the courage award irrelevant and meaningless. But that’s the way the media operate, sports or otherwise. They are more about elevating causes than rewarding merit.
Enjoy your award, Bruce. It will look pretty on your mantle. But it doesn’t really mean anything.