Ahh, the internet: The Holy Land for Americans to practice their First Amendment rights through controversial debate, emphasized via the eloquence of caps lock, typos and memes. This is certainly how our founding fathers envisioned us embracing our freedom of speech and expression, by hiding behind a keyboard and typing words that we've convinced ourselves sound informed and insightful. Ugh.
Amidst the plethora of controversy to recently grace our great nation— offensive flags, racist NFL team names, marriage equality, a white chick identifying as black, what color a fucking dress is, etc.—there are the ESPYs.
The ESPYs are a made-up annual awards show that, in real life, are the red carpet equivalent to winning a high school superlative. They're nationally broadcasted reminders that "Hey, you did a good job playing that sport you get paid millions of dollars to play." They were created for your entertainment by the Entertainment Sports Programming Network, but more importantly, they were created to drive viewership to said network. This is how the media industry works, people.
Now, before you lose your shit defending the positives of the ESPYs, I know.
I'm not going to delve into the emotions and feels I have for Devon Still and his beautiful daughter, Leah, winning the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. The Still family deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the fight against pediatric cancer, and of course, for the lasting impact Leah has made on anyone with a beating heart. Same can be said for The Best Moment Award going to Lauren Hill. There is little, if anything, to debate about that. And neither Still or Hill needed an ESPY as an affirmation for what they've done. There is, however, Caitlyn Jenner.
Caitlyn Jenner winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for coming out and transitioning into a woman has pissed off a lot of people for a lot of irrational reasons. The beauty about the First Amendment thing I mentioned earlier—great read, btw—is that you don't have to agree that Caitlyn Jenner is in fact, courageous. We're allowed to have our own opinion and people are allowed to disagree with us, and we are all allowed to argue like incoherent morons on Facebook about it. What makes some people's opinions moot, however, are when they make no sense.
It's a bold move to make a statement on social media that establishes the foundation for an argument that does not exist. When I scroll through my timeline of engagement photos, sonograms, and racist articles from that kid who still lives in my hometown and thinks the Outback Steakhouse is authentic 'ethnic' food, and stumble upon posts like the one above, I consider buying a canoe and rowing out to the nearest deserted island to become best friends with a coconut.
The problem with posts like this is not that they dismiss the voice Jenner has provided for the transgender community, but rather that they are comparing apples to pick-up trucks. A firefighter who jumps into a burning building and saves a baby is pretty damn courageous. You would need a Ph. D. in #Actually to claim otherwise. But this unnamed firefighter doing his job, we can assume, is not a former or current professional athlete. Why does that matter? Because the ESPYs is a sports awards show and the recipients of the awards need to have something to do with sports in some capacity.
This photo is one of endless examples of moral justice propaganda speaking out against an award they don't agree with/has absolutely nothing to do with them. If you don't agree with the producers over at ESPN that Caitlyn Jenner deserves the Arthur Ashe Award for courage, that is your prerogative. But rather than flooding the world wide web with irrational logic and hurtful words that aren't going to change what happened Wednesday night, make like Frozen and Let It Go.
Being a sports fan is stressful enough. Don't cut your life expectancy shorter by caring about the ESPYs.