Tillman’s Mother Responds To Decision

Let’s talk about the latest buzz surrounding Prince Harry and an award that's stirring up quite a bit of controversy. Prince Harry is set to receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2024 ESPY Awards. This honor, named after the fallen soldier and NFL player Pat Tillman, has caught many off guard, including Tillman’s own mother.

So, what’s the deal? ESPN recently announced that the Duke of Sussex would be this year's recipient. But Mary "Dannie" Tillman, Pat Tillman's mother, expressed her shock and confusion over this choice. She told The DailyMail, "I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award. There are recipients that are far more fitting. There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans."

She pointed out that many deserving individuals in the veteran community don't have the same level of resources or connections as Prince Harry. "These individuals do not have the money, resources, connections, or privilege that Prince Harry has. I feel that those types of individuals should be recognized," she said.

For some context, the Pat Tillman Award for Service has been awarded since 2014, but Mary Tillman is not associated with the Pat Tillman Foundation, which selects the recipients. Prince Harry is being honored for his work with the Invictus Games, a sporting event he launched in 2014 to support wounded servicemen and women. Harry, who served in the British army for 10 years, has been a significant figure in the veteran community through this initiative.

ESPN responded to the criticism, with a spokesperson telling Fox News Digital, "ESPN, with the support of the Tillman Foundation, is honoring Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, specifically for the work of The Invictus Games Foundation as it celebrates its 10th year promoting healing through the power of sport for military service members and veterans around the world. While we understand not everyone will agree with all honorees selected for any award, The Invictus Games Foundation does incredible work and ESPN believes this is a cause worth celebrating."

The Invictus Games are set to take place in Düsseldorf, Germany, this July. Upon learning about the award, Prince Harry told People magazine, "This one is for our entire service community." He is expected to accept the honor in Hollywood next month.

Previous recipients of the Pat Tillman Award include the Buffalo Bills Training Staff (2023), retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans (2022), professional footballer Marcus Rashford (2021), and professional boxer Kim Clavel (2020).

For those who might not know, Pat Tillman was an NFL player who turned down a multimillion-dollar contract to enlist in the Army after the 9/11 attacks. He tragically died in Afghanistan due to friendly fire. Tillman’s decision to leave football and serve his country is a powerful testament to his character. His mother recently shared with ESPN, "He always wanted to try to do the right thing – not that he did the right thing all the time, but he tried – and he defended his friends whenever they were in some kind of trouble."

But Mary Tillman isn’t the only one questioning ESPN’s choice. Popular sports analyst Pat McAfee also criticized the decision on his show, suggesting that it was an attempt to provoke a reaction. "When you do something like this, you know the immediate reaction from humans and from sports fans and like people with like just common sense in brains," McAfee said, implying that the decision might be more about causing a stir than honoring true service.

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