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Prince Harry Dubbed 'Controversial' Over Pat Tillman Award Recognition

Prince Harry Dubbed ‘Controversial’ Over Pat Tillman Award Recognition

Pat Tillman’s mother has expressed her anger over Prince Harry receiving an award named in honor of her son. Tillman, a former NFL player, became an Army Ranger after the 9/11 attacks and was tragically killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan. The circumstances surrounding his death are already controversial and well-documented.

According to the New York Post, Mary Tillman is particularly upset by ESPN’s decision to honor Prince Harry with the Pat Tillman Award. “I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award,” Tillman told The Daily Mail. “There are recipients that are far more fitting. There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans.”

Mary Tillman further expressed her confusion over why a Royal was chosen instead of someone less famous. The Pat Tillman Award has typically been given to “unsung heroes.” For instance, in 2023, the award went to the Buffalo Bills training staff who played a crucial role in reviving Damar Hamlin after he suffered cardiac arrest during a game.

ESPN personality Pat McAfee echoed Mary Tillman’s sentiments, suggesting that the network aimed to “piss people off” with their decision to honor the Royal. “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. This is like actually the most embarrassing thing I’ve seen in my entire life.”

Defending Prince Harry, the main reason he is being honored with the award is due to his military service and his efforts post-Afghanistan. Together with his brother, Harry launched the Invictus Games in 2014 as a “multi-sport, Paralympic-styled games for wounded or injured servicemen and veterans.” Upon learning he would receive the award, Harry credited the entire service community.

While Prince Harry may fit the award criteria based on his military service and contributions, it’s understandable that the Tillman family feels slighted for not being involved in the decision regarding the award that carries Pat Tillman’s name.

Source: New York Post, The Daily Mail