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Bob Costas has criticized ESPN’s decision to award Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, describing the move as “a crass exploitation play.”
The veteran NBC Sports broadcaster told Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show that the award, set to be presented next month, could have gone to someone “deserving of what that award represents.”
“It strikes me that awarding the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner is just a crass exploitation play – it’s a tabloid play,” he said. “In the broad world of sports, I’m pretty sure they could’ve found someone – and this is not anything against Caitlyn Jenner – who was much closer actively involved in sports.”
Costas suggested ESPN was playing “into the Keeping Up With the Kardashians culture that has overtaken a good part of the cultural landscape.”
“That’s not to say that it doesn’t take some measure of personal courage to do what Caitlyn Jenner has done, but I think that every year we look across the landscape of sports, and we find prominent people and kids in high school and amateur athletes who I think more closely fit the description of what they’re looking for or should be looking for there,” he added.
“And I think this is a play to pump up audience the way lots of things are put on television, to attract eyeballs, not because of the validity, but because of whatever the kind of gawker factor is.”