Caitlyn Jenner beat out several other worthy candidates when she was chosen to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year's ESPYs. And that has some people upset.
Two names in particular keep coming up on social media as better choices for the honor than the former Bruce Jenner, who introduced herself to the world Monday as Caitlyn on the cover of Vanity Fair: Noah Galloway, an Iraq war veteran and double amputee who now competes in hard-core running events; Lauren Hill, who devoted the final year of her life to playing basketball in an effort aimed at raising awareness and funds to fight cancer.
ESPN has stated more than once that there's no such thing as a "runner up" for the award.
Sports radio personality Gerry Callahan may have started some of the backlash by sending out this tweet, which has been retweeted nearly 10,000 times:
Caitlyn Jenner wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award. And the runner-up is .... pic.twitter.com/DKUdnPT8Gx— Gerry Callahan (@GerryCallahan) June 1, 2015
Callahan told Boston.com that the his tweet was meant as a joke.
But not everyone took it that way, as the rumor that Galloway really finished as "runner up" to Jenner for the award started to spread. That might have something to do with this meme, which has been retweeted more than 52,000 times:
What a joke pic.twitter.com/SD7sTVzGSY— Military USA (@MiIitaryUSA) June 2, 2015
It didn't take long until Hill's name came up as well.
I can think of no more courageous or deserving athlete this year than the late #LaurenHill - should have been Arthur Ashe recipient IMO— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) June 2, 2015
These two are way more deserving of an espy than Caitlyn Jenner. What is the world coming to? pic.twitter.com/JB6CGyrsU6— Cameron Lafleur™ (@TBill19) June 2, 2015
Of course, there's been plenty of support for Jenner as well.
Sick of people judging what's more important. Who is *anyone* to stack Caitlyn Jenner's situation against what else happening in the world?— Kaitlyn Whiteside (@kait_whiteside) June 4, 2015
And yes, I am referring to the Caitlyn Jenner ESPYs debate. She's a former Olympian who made a courageous personal decision late in life.— Kaitlyn Whiteside (@kait_whiteside) June 4, 2015
So no, she wasn't in the military (an extremely courageous & selfless thing to do). She didn't battle cancer (also INCREDIBLY courageous).— Kaitlyn Whiteside (@kait_whiteside) June 4, 2015
BUT she still did something very courageous. In summary: there are all different types of courage. One is not better than the other./endrant— Kaitlyn Whiteside (@kait_whiteside) June 4, 2015
ESPN released this statement about its choice of Jenner for the honor:
"The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is meant to honor individuals whose contributions transcend sports through courageous action. Sometimes that courage is demonstrated over the course of a lifetime and sometimes it is demonstrated in a single act that shines a light on an important contemporary issue. At all times, there are many worthy candidates. This year, we are proud to honor Caitlyn Jenner embracing her identity and doing so in a public way to help move forward a constructive dialogue about progress and acceptance."
As for Jenner herself, she doesn't seem too consumed by the debate. "What the hell am I going to wear?"" she tweeted Tuesday, along with a link to the announcement of her upcoming ESPYs award.
What the hell am I going to wear? https://t.co/HoXNQasAXM— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 2, 2015