Whether you agreed with it or not, Caitlyn Jenner was presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs Wednesday night.
Most know the story by now. Caitlyn, born Bruce, was considered the greatest athlete in the world after her performance at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Monteal, and is better known by the younger generation from being on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Jenner, who struggled with her sexuality for most of her life, finally became the woman she felt she was.
As I said last month, I don’t completely understand what Jenner has gone through, but there are others who do.
Yes, there are a lot of people who could have won the award.
Lauren Hill, the college basketball player who died from a brain tumor earlier this year is one. Noah Galloway, the soldier who lost his left arm and leg, was another people felt was snubbed, which also lead to a false report that he finished second behind Jenner. Heck, 5-year-old Leah Still, who received the Jimmy V. Perseverance Award, could have won that, too.
Keep this in mind. Those of you who feel like there was an injustice done and Caitlyn Jenner was forced down your throat Wednesday night, just a reminder: It’s an award show.
Without Arthur Ashe and Jim Valvano, the ESPYs would be a straight, three-hour love fest for athletes. Those two awards make it bearable to watch for at least 20 minutes.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award provides a platform to bring awareness to different issues. It provided Jim Valvano a chance to address cancer research and establish the Jimmy V. Foundation back in 1993. Since his “Don’t Ever Give Up” speech, the foundation he and ESPN set up has raised millions of dollars for cancer research. 21 years after his speech, another ESPN personality, Stuart Scott, who would die months later from cancer, received the Perseverance Award named after Valvano, reiterating Jimmy V’s words and mission. Many view the ESPYs as a Jimmy V. Foundation event.
Cancer impacts everyone. I’ve lost two grandparents in the last six years to lung cancer, more recently, my grandmother a little over a week ago. I know other people battling cancer. It comes after friends and family and hits you where it hurts most.
Jenner is advocating for something that doesn’t affect everyone, but it does affect thousands who feel like they have nowhere to turn and some are being physically harmed because of it. It wasn’t just about her transformation and her saying “Look at Me! Look at Me!” It was also about others like her who don’t have a platform.
I like to think that most people become more open-minded as they grow older. But, I am aware that many are set in their way of thinking. The Christian-right crowd claiming that these messages are being forced down their throats and their religious rights and values are under fire.
Here’s the reality: Those people’s religious rights are not under fire. Issues those people would rather ignore are being brought up, and it’s an inconvenience to their personal utopia that they have formed.
This is not a personal attack on the right, but seriously, it doesn’t hurt to see things from another persons point-of-view. You don’t have to agree with it. Nobody is forcing you to watch Jenner on ABC. Nobody is forcing you to change your views and lifestyle. Just be aware of other things happening outside of your bubble.
Jenner receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award was about inclusion. Everyone in this country knows somebody who has been affected by cancer. Many out there may not know a person who is transgender, but much like Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the National Football League who won the award last year, Jenner is just making the public aware of an issue we may not fully understand, and is speaking for those who probably feel like she did for the first 65 years of her life, who probably live in fear and feel misunderstood.
Don’t agree? Don’t care. Much like your ability to turn the channel on your television, use your mouse to click on another blog.