Caitlyn Jenner to Receive Coveted ESPN Courage Award; Last Three Winners Are Gay, Lesbian and Transgender

Bruce Jenner talks with Diane Sawyer on ABC's 20/20 in April of 2015. | ABC News

ESPN announced this week that Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the ESPYS on July 18. In what is becoming ground zero for sexual identity courage awards, the last three winners of the ESPN award identify as gay, lesbian and transgender.

"What the hell am I going to wear?" Jenner tweeted Tuesday with a link to the ESPN press release.

In 2012, the Media Research Center noted bias in sports journalism, and at ESPN in particular, is a prevalent problem, including "long featured commentary advancing the gay agenda."

In 2013, CEO Bob Iger of Disney, which owns the media platform ESPN, defended complaints from a shareholder, the National Center for Public Policy Research, concerning liberal bias at the sports network.

A new book by Dylan Gwinn titled, Bias in the Booth: An Insider Exposes How the Sports Media Distort the News, was published in March. In an interview about his book, Gwinn discussed how many in the sports media business resent a lot of the religious or Christian themes in pre and post game interviews. "The sports media, by and large, see it as a dangerous rival to their statist, liberal orthodoxy," he declared.

While pop and entertainment culture is in a rush to celebrate Jenner's transition, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Christians should not "fall for the cultural narrative behind the transgender turn.

"This narrative is rooted in the ancient heresy of Gnosticism," declared Moore, "with the idea that the 'real' self is separate from who one is as an embodied, material building.

"We should stand for God's good design, including around what Jesus says has been true 'from the beginning,' — that we are created male and female, not as self-willed designations but as God's creative act (Mark 10:6)."

Moore also emphasized the importance of not mocking "these suffering souls," adding that alienation, something all humans feel, "manifests itself in different ways in different people."

Jenner expressed thanks for "the overwhelming outpouring of support for my journey" in a press release by ESPN, and called former tennis star Arthur Ashe "one of my heroes."

"For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers," declared Jenner.

According to ESPN, the Arthur Ashe award "is one of the most prestigious in sports." Award winners possess "strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril, and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter the cost."

Michael Sam (2014) and Robin Roberts (2013), are the most recent recipients of the Arthur Ashe courage award. Sam, who identifies as gay, is under contract in the Canadian Football League and Roberts, who identifies as lesbian, is an anchor for ABC's "Good Morning America."

Despite claims by some on social media that a wounded warrior finished second for the award behind Jenner, the ESPY's do not announce runners up for the award. Many on social media did express their desire for Lauren Hill, the former basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University, to be given the award for courage. Hill continued playing basketball even as she battled an inoperable brain tumor. She died in April.

Jenner came to prominence as a gold medal winner in the men's decathlon event in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Jenner is well known to younger audiences as the male father figure on the reality show "Keeping up with the Kardashians."

In an April 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, Jenner came out as transgender. Jenner is featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair with the caption, "Call me Caitlyn."

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