Wednesday, July 16, 2003
COURAGE: ESPN's ESPY awards show -- which airs this evening -- is an exercise to fill airtime during one of the slowest sports days of the year, the day after Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. On the whole, it's a pretty silly event -- the only memory I have of it was Bill Murray doing a hysterical bit in the late 1990's about how Michael Jordan's career was complete now that he'd won an ESPY.

However, the event does has one authentic creation -- the Arthur Ashe Courage Award (click here to see the past winners). Last year's winners were the rugby players who battled the terrorists on United flight 93.

This year's winners will be Pat and Kevin Tillman. Here's why:

Since joining the Army following the 2001 World Trade Center disaster, the Tillmans have refused all media interviews -- a policy they still enforce. They will, however, be recognized in absentia on ESPN's 2003 ESPY Awards on July 19, when they will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Their younger brother, Richard, will accept on their behalf, according to their father.

"To tell you the truth, the boys are not too pleased about the ESPY thing," said the elder Tillman. "But I am. I'm very happy about it. I'm proud."...

Pat Tillman turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the Army in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Kevin gave up a minor league baseball career to join Pat.

Click here for more information on the Tillmans.

Not everyone, by the way, is pleased about this. Kevin Blackistone writes in the Dallas Morning News:

Arthur Ashe stood up for a lot of people and ideas in his lifetime. The oppressed. The afflicted. Human rights. Human dignity. But he never stood up for war. Bet he wouldn't be too thrilled about having the ESPY's Arthur Ashe Courage Award given to Pat Tillman for sacrificing his NFL career to join the U.S.'s offensive war in Iraq. That's not a part of Ashe's legacy.

I would never presume to speak for Ashe, but I suspect he would acknowledge that the oppressed and afflicted in Iraq have a better chance of seeing their human rights conditions improve with the toppling of the Baasthist regime.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive