ESPN Justifies Giving Pat Tillman Award to Prince Harry

( – ESPN recently gave the Pat Tillman Service Award to Prince Hary, resulting in heavy criticism from EPSN fans and social media users alike.

Despite the criticism from its audience and Pat Tillman’s mother, ESPN has confirmed that it would not give the award to a different recipient. ESPN cited the award’s namesake, Patrick Tillman when explaining why it would not take the award away from Prince Harry. ESPN established the Pat Tillman Service Award to honor Tillman, who made national headlines after he died while serving in the United States Army.

Tillman joined the NFL in 1998 and played for various teams, such as the Arizona Cardinals and the Sun Devils. After playing in the NFL for three years, Tillman turned down a massive $3 million contract, decided to enlist in the United States Army, and deployed to Afghanistan. Tillman served until April 2004 and died during a friendly-fire incident where some of Tillman’s platoon members began firing at him after mistaking Tillman and a member of an Afghan militia as hostile soldiers.

ESPN established the Pat Tillman Service Award in 2014, which the organization traditionally grants to people who’ve served in the United States Armed Forces or made significant contributions to their communities. Among the award’s previous recipients is Jake Wood, an offensive lineman who played for the Wisconsin Badgers and served in the United States Marine Corps following the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Although Prince Harry has contributed to various charitable organizations over the past few years, many online commenters seemed dissatisfied with ESPN’s decision to grant him the Pat Tillman Service Award. ESPN responded to the backlash by citing Harry’s decade-long career in the British Army and his service in Afghanistan. Despite Harry’s military service and charitable contributions over the last few years, Tillman’s mother disapproved and explained why ESPN should select a different recipient in a statement to mainstream media outlets.

In her statement, Mary Tillman referred to the controversies surrounding Prince Harry and his relationship with the British royal family. Although Tillman’s mother didn’t expressly refer to Prince Harry’s controversial memoir, she did describe the royal as “divisive.” Tillman’s mother said that ESPN should’ve selected someone more involved with veteran-focused organizations or charities and claimed that Harry’s wealth and privileged life as a royal should’ve precluded him from receiving the award. ESPN responded to Mary Tillman and other online commenters by claiming it wouldn’t take the award from Prince Harry nor retract its support for the British royal.

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