‘Controversial and divisive’ move to honour Prince Harry met with backlash

Jul 03, 2024
"I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award." Source: Getty Images.

Controversial royal Prince Harry is set to be recognised with the Pat Tillman Award at ESPN’s annual awards this year, a move that has drawn swift condemnation.

The award is given to an individual deeply connected to sports who has served others in a manner that reflects the legacy of Tillman, an NFL player and US soldier who passed away at the age of 27 in Afghanistan in 2004.

Harry’s 10-year dedication to the British Army, his two tours in Afghanistan, and his founding of the Invictus Games Foundation to support injured, wounded, and sick servicemen and women worldwide are the reasons he is receiving this honour.

Despite meeting the criteria to receive the award, Tillman’s mother, Mary Tillman, has voiced her opposition, arguing that “there are recipients that are far more fitting”.

“I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award,” she told the Daily Mail newspaper.

“There are recipients that are far more fitting. 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. I feel that those types of individuals should be recognised.”

Following the backlash, ESPN were quick to respond and offer their support for Prince Harry, insisting his work with Invictus Games is worthy of recognition.

“ESPN, with the support of the Tillman Foundation, is honouring 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,” they said.

“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.”

While it appears that Harry will receive the award despite opposition, the 39-year-old was recently passed up for another prestigious honour when King Charles bestowed the title of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps upon Prince William earlier this year, a decision that was widely anticipated to be in Prince Harry’s favour.

The title was passed to Prince William by King Charles, despite Harry’s notable service with the regiment during his time in Afghanistan.

The announcement came amid Prince Harry’s visit to the UK for the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games, a trip that was also marred by the news that a long-awaited reunion with his father was not possible due to the Monarch’s busy schedule.

The palace’s statement regarding the transfer of the title emphasised the King’s pleasure in appointing William to the role, a position previously held by the Monarch himself for an impressive 31 years.

“His Majesty the King will officially hand over the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales,” the palace’s statement read.

“In August 2023, following His Majesty’s Accession, the King was pleased to announce military appointments including that the Prince of Wales would become Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps.”

-with BANG.

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