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Mother of Slain US Hero Pat Tillman Slams Decision to Honor Prince Harry With Son's Award: 'I Am Shocked'

Composite photo of Pat Tillman and Prince Harry
Source: MEGA

Prince Harry is said to be "stunned" by the backlash he faced after it was announced that he would receive an award named in honor of Pat Tillman

Jul. 1 2024, Published 9:18 a.m. ET

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The mother of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who was killed in Afghanistan after giving up his football career to enlist in the United States Army in the wake of 9/11, has slammed ESPN's decision to honor Prince Harry with an award named after her late son, RadarOnline.com has learned.

The Pat Tillman Award for Service, which has been handed out at ESPN's ESPY Awards since 2014, is given to individuals who have served others in ways that embodies Tillman's legacy. Last year it went to the Buffalo Bills training staff who helped save the life of Damar Hamlin after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a game.

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pat tillman
Source: MEGA

The Pat Tillman Award for Service, which has been handed out at ESPN's ESPY Awards since 2014, is given to individuals who have served others in ways that embodies Tillman's legacy.

"I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award. There are recipients that are far more fitting," Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, told The Daily Mail.

"There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans," she said. "These individuals do not have the money, resources, connections, or privilege that Prince Harry has. I feel that those types of individuals should be recognized."

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Composite photo of Prince Harry.
Source: MEGA

ESPN said that the Duke of Sussex was selected for the honor in recognition of his "tireless work in making a positive impact for the veteran community through the power of sport."

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ESPN said that the Duke of Sussex was selected for the honor in recognition of his "tireless work in making a positive impact for the veteran community through the power of sport" by founding the Invictus Games, "creating an international platform to support wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women — both active-duty and veterans — who are navigating both physical and invisible injuries."

Prince Harry served in the British Armed Forces for 10 years, including two tours in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot, and helped launch the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style sporting event for service members, in 2014. "This one is for our entire service community," Harry said after learning of the upcoming honor at the 2024 ESPYs.

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prince harry reaches breaking point
Source: MEGA

The decision to honor Prince Harry with the Pat Tillman Award has sparked backlash including a change.org petition with over 30,000 signature demanding that ESPN "rethink" their selection.

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The decision to honor Prince Harry with the Pat Tillman Award has sparked backlash including a change.org petition with over 30,000 signature demanding that ESPN "rethink" their selection.

ESPN analyst Pat McAfee called the network's choice "embarrassing." Another source told the Daily Mail, "It’s incredibly hurtful that the family had no say in this. Pat Tillman was a unifying force for good. Harry is divisive ... There are many unsung heroes who are far more deserving."

"ESPN, with the support of the Tillman Foundation, is honoring Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, specifically for the work of The Invictus Games Foundation as it celebrates its 10th year promoting healing through the power of sport for military service members and veterans around the world," ESPN told RadarOnline.com in a statement. "While we understand not everyone will agree with all honorees selected for any award, The Invictus Games Foundation does incredible work and ESPN believes this is a cause worth celebrating.”

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