Mary Tillman has expressed her disappointment with ESPN’s decision to honor Prince Harry with the Pat Tillman Award for service at the upcoming 2024 ESPY Awards. She believes that there are more deserving recipients in the veteran community who do not have the same level of privilege as Prince Harry. Mary Tillman feels that individuals who are doing tremendous work to assist veterans should be recognized instead.

Pat Tillman, a former Arizona Cardinals safety who left the NFL to serve in the Army after the September 11th attacks, tragically died in Afghanistan in 2004 at the age of 27. The Pat Tillman Award for service is typically given to individuals with a strong connection to sports who have served others in a way that reflects Tillman’s legacy as both an NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger.

Prince Harry is being recognized for his work with the Invictus Games competition, which allows veterans with various injuries to compete in athletic competitions. Like Tillman, Harry is also a veteran who served in the British Armed Forces and did two tours of duty in Afghanistan. While some may question the choice of Prince Harry as the recipient of the award, the ESPYS committee believes that his efforts to support the veteran community through sports are deserving of recognition.

In the past, the Pat Tillman award has been given to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the veteran community. This year, in addition to Prince Harry, Coach Dawn Staley will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, and Steve Gleason will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2024 ESPY Awards.

The ESPYS will be hosted by Serena Williams and will air live on ABC on July 11 at 8 p.m. ET. It remains to be seen whether Prince Harry will attend the ceremony in person to receive the award. Despite the controversy surrounding his selection, the ESPYS committee stands by their decision to honor Prince Harry for his dedication to supporting veterans through sports.