Prince Harry Wins ESPY Award Named After Fallen US War Hero Pat Tillman, Sparking Backlash

Prince Harry Wins ESPY Award Named After Fallen US War Hero Pat Tillman, Sparking Backlash
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Prince Har­ry has won the Pat Till­man Award for Ser­vice at the upcom­ing ESPY Awards, named after the fall­en US war hero who served in Afghanistan. 

How­ev­er, the deci­sion to hon­or Har­ry has been met with crit­i­cism from Till­man’s fam­i­ly and sup­port­ers who say the prince is unde­serv­ing of the honor.

Pat Till­man was a for­mer NFL play­er who gave up his foot­ball career after 9/11 to enlist in the US Army with his brother. 

He served brave­ly in both Iraq and Afghanistan before being trag­i­cal­ly killed by friend­ly fire in 2004 at the age of 27. Till­man was posthu­mous­ly award­ed the Sil­ver Star and Pur­ple Heart for his courage and sacrifice.

The annu­al Pat Till­man Award typ­i­cal­ly rec­og­nizes extra­or­di­nary con­tri­bu­tions and ser­vice in sports. Pre­vi­ous recip­i­ents include NFL train­ing staff who saved a play­er’s life on the field. How­ev­er, many feel Har­ry does not reflect Till­man’s virtues of sac­ri­fice and putting ser­vice before self.

Till­man’s moth­er Mary said she was not con­sult­ed about Har­ry win­ning the award set up to hon­or her late son. She expressed that there are many more deserv­ing vet­er­ans cur­rent­ly assist­ing their com­mu­ni­ty who could have been rec­og­nized instead.

A grow­ing peti­tion with over 5,000 sig­na­tures also calls for ESPN to recon­sid­er giv­ing the award to Har­ry, claim­ing he has been involved in con­tro­ver­sies that dimin­ish the hon­or. Sig­na­to­ries argue Har­ry does not embody Till­man’s lega­cy of patri­o­tism and that the deci­sion dis­re­spects Till­man’s memory.

The back­lash high­lights the ongo­ing divide in per­cep­tion of Prince Har­ry between those sup­port­ive of his human­i­tar­i­an work through the Invic­tus Games ver­sus crit­ics who feel he has dis­re­spect­ed his roy­al duties.

As the first fam­i­ly mem­ber to receive this pres­ti­gious award, the ESPN selec­tion con­tin­ues to gar­ner strong opin­ions on both sides.

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