Backlash from Pat Tillman Award Hits Prince Harry Hard, Leaving Him ‘Stunned’ – ‘Bitter Pill to Swallow’

Prince Harry keeps finding the wrong ways to make headlines.

The feckless younger son of the king of England, who gave up a life of luxurious service to his country for a life of luxury for himself and his wife, reportedly can’t understand why anyone would be furious that he’s getting an award named for a genuine hero.

He’s simply “stunned,” according to the U.K. Telegraph.

On Sunday, the Telegraph published the report on Harry’s reaction to the late June news that he was expected to receive ESPN’s Pat Tillman Award for Service at a ceremony scheduled for Thursday.

Tillman is the former NFL player who left the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. He died in Afghanistan in 2004 as a result of “friendly fire.”


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Backlash to news that Harry would get the honor was fierce, including from Tillman’s mother, who told the U.K.’s Daily Mail that she was “shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award.”

By early Monday afternoon Eastern Time, almost 70,000 signatures were attached to a petition asking ESPN to reconsider.

Does Prince Harry deserve this award?

Here are the most relevant paragraphs:

“Prince Harry, while a former military officer, has been involved in controversies that call into question his suitability to receive an honor of this magnitude. … More recently, his role in the Invictus games, a platform meant to celebrate the resilience and dedication of veterans, has been criticized as self-centered.

“In contrast, Pat Tillman exemplified duty, honor, and sacrifice. He gave up his successful NFL career to serve his country after the 9/11 attacks, and tragically lost his life during his service. Awarding this honor to someone who does not reflect the award’s intent diminishes its value and disrespects Tillman’s memory.”


ESPN Responds to Backlash After Selecting Prince Harry as ‘Pat Tillman Award’ Winner

ESPN is standing by its choice.

While it’s understandable that a man like Harry, who abandoned both his family and his country to live a life of wealth and ease in the United States might not appreciate the comparison of his merits to Tillman, it’s less believable that he’s surprised by it.

Yet he is. And the fact that the award involves his military service and work with veterans makes it “a particularly bitter pill to swallow,” The Telegraph reported.

Harry himself served in the military, and his major claim to actual public service these days is as prime organizer of the Invictus Games, a sports competition for wounded veterans.

“This is the space in which he truly feels at home. It is something he deeply cares about,” an unnamed source told The Telegraph.

“The reaction certainly took the shine off the award.”

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