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Posted June 8, 2015

 

-An OPINION-

ESPN Diminishes Arthur Ashe’s Legacy

 

By Raynard Jackson, Columnist

Am I the only one who is thoroughly offended by ESPN giving Bruce Jenner “The Arthur Ashe Courage Award” during next month’s ESPYS award ceremony?

 

ESPN claims to be the global TV leader in sports coverage and is owned by The Walt Disney Company.  Disney is also the parent company of ABC Television (which will air the ceremony). 

 

Disney is one of the most radically aggressive pro-homosexual companies in the world.

 

According to ESPN’s website, “Bruce Jenner won the 1976 Olympic decathlon, setting a world record and becoming an international sports star. Jenner later became an actor in a number of TV movies, a race car driver (winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1986) and a successful businessman. Jenner married his third wife, Kris Kardashian, in 1991, and became part of the E! network series "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" in 2007. (Kris and Bruce Jenner were divorced in December 2014.)…Bruce has received many accolades over the years for being one of the greatest Olympians of our time, but The ESPYS are honored to celebrate Bruce becoming [his new name—I refuse to use it]," ESPN executive producer Maura Mandt said. "[He] has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces."

 

Tell me you are kidding?  Please tell me this is a bad dream.  “Courage?” 

 

This is a total insult to the legacy of Arthur Ashe and diminishes what he accomplished in his life. Courage is not admitting you are homosexual.  Jenner’s worst day doesn’t come close to what Ashe had to overcome being Black in America and playing as a professional in one of the whitest sports at the time.

 

Arthur Ashe was the personification of courage.  He grew up in the segregated south of Richmond, Virginia in the 40s and was a top ranked tennis player in the 60s and 70s.  According to Ashe’s website, “he [Ashe] was the first African-American male tennis player to win a Grand Slam tournament.  He was much more than an athlete though.  His commitment to social justice, health and humanitarian issues left a mark on the world as indelible as his tennis was on the court.  This site is dedicated to providing a unique multimedia resource for understanding and promoting the legacy and values embodied in the life and work of Arthur Ashe as a conscience leader, humanitarian, educator and athlete.”

 

Ashe faced serious discrimination in his attempts to integrate professional tennis; he was arrested several times for protesting against South African apartheid; was intimately involved in the Civil Rights movement; and was a noted humanitarian.  Ashe died of AIDS in 1993 from receiving a blood transfusion after heart surgery. 

 

So, can someone please tell me how we get from the legacy of Arthur Ashe to the freak show called Bruce Jenner and by extension, the Kardashians?  Every Black person should be offended by ESPN’s actions.  But not just Blacks, but anyone who knows anything about the contribution Ashe made to the world.

 

Ashe used his life to change America for the better and left his fingerprints on the world; and Jenner put on a dress!

 

I would hope that Ashe’s widow, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, would ask ESPN to remove her husband’s name from the award because what ESPN is doing is not compatible with who Arthur Ashe was.

 

Name one thing Jenner has done that was “courageous;” name me one thing he has done to make America better; name me one thing he has done to make the world better. 

 

ESPN created this award in 1993, which was well received.  A few previous winners have been Pat and Kevin Tillman; Tommie Smith and John Carlos; and Nelson Mandela.  No one could argue against these individuals receiving the Ashe award; they indeed did represent everything Ashe stood for.

 

Now ESPN has turned Ashe’s award into a vehicle to promote homosexuality.  The last three winners have been, Robin Roberts, Michael Sam, and now Bruce Jenner.

 

According to ESPN, “The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is presented to the sports-related person(s) or team, irrespective of gender or sport contested, adjudged to have made the most significant or compelling humanitarian contribution in transcendence of sports in a given year.”

 

Publically declaring you are homosexual is not a “significant or compelling humanitarian contribution in transcendence of sports.”

 

Ashe actually sacrificed money, tennis matches, and his life to make it possible for the Williams sisters to play tennis; to end Apartheid, and to defend those without a voice.  Name me one sacrifice Roberts, Sam or Jenner has made to make America better?

 

We, in the Black community, must stop allowing others to expropriate our heroes to promote their own liberal agendas; especially when the expropriation is not consistent with the person’s values and lifestyle. 

 

 

 

 

 

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