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ESPN Defends Honoring Prince Harry With Pat Tillman Award

  ESPN defended its decision to honor Prince Harry with the Pat Tillman Award for Service amid criticism from the mother of the late NFL sta...

 ESPN defended its decision to honor Prince Harry with the Pat Tillman Award for Service amid criticism from the mother of the late NFL star and U.S. Army Ranger after whom the accolade is named and others.

A statement to TMZ from the sports network read, “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 statement added.

The statement was released after Tillman’s mom, Mary, reacted to news that the member of the royal family would be recognized at this month’s ESPYs with the award named after her son, the NFL safety-turned-Army Ranger who enlisted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and was killed by friendly fire in 2004, according to the New York Post.

I am shocked as to why they [ESPN] would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award,” Mary told the Daily Mail.

“There are recipients that are far more fitting,” she added. “There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans.”

“These individuals do not have the money, resources, connections or privilege that Prince Harry has,” Tillman’s mother continued. “I feel that those types of individuals should be recognized.”

Following news about the Duke of Sussex being honored, a petition started against the network to make another decision, the Daily Mail noted.

“Awarding this honor to someone who does not reflect the award’s intent diminishes its value and disrespects Tillman’s memory,” the petition read.

ESPN sports analyst Pat McAfee accused his own network of trying to upset people by making the decision.

“It’s going to Prince Harry,” McAfee said.  “Who I don’t even think is a Prince anymore, right? He said don’t call me that? See, why does the ESPYs do this s**t?”

“When you do something like this, you know the immediate reaction from humans and sports fans and like people with common sense and brains is going to be like ‘Hey, don’t be putting our f***ing guy with that guy,’ McAfee added

In 2014, Prince Harry — who served in the British Army — launched the Invictus Games which featured a multi-sport, Paralympic-styled event for wounded or injured servicemen and veterans, the New York Postreported.

“This one is for our entire service community,” Harry said after learning that he will receive the Pat Tillman Award, the outlet noted.

The ESPYs will take place on July 11, per TMZ.

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