NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas is slamming ESPN, calling its decision to give Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the upcoming ESPY awards show a "crass exploitation play."
Costas, who has sounded off on a variety of hot-button issues from guns, domestic violence and changing the Washington Redskins nickname in the past, did not shy away from taking on ESPN decision to honor Jenner when asked on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday.
"I'm hoping not to be misunderstood," Costas said on the morning sports show. "Bruce Jenner, who I did not know well. I always had a cordial relationship with. I wish Caitlyn Jenner well …anyone seeking to find the identity they're comfortable with and live the happiest possibly life without hurting anybody. … I wish Caitlyn all the happiness and peace of mind in the world. However, it strikes me that awarding the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner is just a crass exploitation play."
Costas said he would have preferred someone more aligned with sports today winning the award, alluding to the fact that Jenner is best known for winning the Montreal Summer Olympics decathlon in 1976.
"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 to actively involved in sports, who would've been deserving of what that award represents."
"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 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," said Costas.
ESPN received backlash from the selection of Jenner for the award last week, with many on social media suggesting that Lauren Hill, a college basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University who died of cancer in April should receive the award, according to WTHR-TV
Others on social media thought that Noah Galloway, an Army veteran and crossfit trainer who lost an arm and leg during the Iraq war, should have won the award, reported the Los Angeles Times
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