Mother of slain US hero Pat Tillman slams decision to honor Prince Harry with son’s award: ‘I am shocked’

Mother of slain US hero Pat Tillman slams decision to honor Prince Harry with son’s award: ‘I am shocked’

The mother of US hero and former NFL player Pat Tillman slammed ESPN’s decision to honor Prince Harry with the award named after her son.

Mary Tillman said she was never consulted by the sports network to give the Duke of Sussex the Pat Tillman Award, which honors the late NFL safety-turned-Army Ranger who enlisted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award,” Mary told the Daily Mail.

Prince Harry has been tapped to receive the Pat Tillman award at the ESPYS. Getty Images

“There are recipients that are far more fitting,” she added. “There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans.”

The baffled mother also pointed out that Harry is already famous and has received plenty of awards in his life, so ESPN should have chosen someone else who’s never been in the spotlight.

The Pat Tillman Award has often been given to unsung heroes, with last year’s recipient being the Buffalo Bills training staff who revived Damar Hamlin, who had suffered a cardiac arrest in the middle of a game.

Mary Tillman, Pat Tillman’s mother, said she was confused as to why ESPN would choose Prince Harry . Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Mary’s condemnation was echoed by ESPN analysts Pat McAfee, who accused his own network on Friday of “trying to piss people off” for picking Prince Harry.

“It’s going to Prince Harry,” McAfee said on his talk show, “who I don’t even think is a Prince anymore, right? He said don’t call me that? See, why does the ESPYs do this s–t?

“This is like actually the most embarrassing thing I’ve seen in my entire life,” he added.

In picking The Duke of Sussex and others to receive honors during the upcoming ESPY Awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly), Kate Jackson, VP, Production at ESPN, touted the recipients as those who have changed the world.

Pat Tillman enlisted in the US Army following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. AP
Tillman’s enlistment meant he gave up a lucrative career as a player for the Arizona Cardinals. REUTERS

“These honorees have used their platforms to change the world and make it more inclusive for marginalized and suffering communities, demonstrating incredible resilience, positivity and perseverance, and we’re thrilled to celebrate them at the 2024 ESPYs,” Jackson said.

Despite being mired in controversy over his royal life, Harry — who served the British military for 10 years, including two tours in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot — has been lauded for his role in launching the Invictus Games.

The Games, created in 2014, serve as a multi-sport, Paralympic-styled games for wounded or injured servicemen and veterans.

The Pat Tillman Award is usually given to unsung heroes who capture the legacy of the late veteran. Getty Images
Harry had served in the British military for 10 years, including two tours in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot. Getty Images

“This one is for our entire service community,” Harry said after learning that he will receive the Pat Tillman Award.

The Pat Tillman Award was created in 2014 and has been given to a person who has served in ways that echoes the legacy of Tillman.

Tillman, a former safety for the Arizona Cardinals, served in Iraq and then Afghanistan before he was killed by friendly fire in 2004, with the soldier posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service.

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