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#pounditThursday, October 28, 2021

Did Caitlyn Jenner negotiate ESPY award in exchange for PR plugs?

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs on Wednesday night. Jenner’s lifelong struggle was highlighted in an inspirational video montage before she received the award, but some are questioning her intentions.

Earlier this week, Radar Online reported that Jenner’s reps pitched the idea of the Olympic gold medalist receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The gossip site claims ESPN “loved the idea,” at which point the two sides began negotiating over public relations plugs and advertising for Jenner’s new reality show “I Am Cait.”

Radar Online also claims that Jenner’s reps were prepared to pull her interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer (ESPN owns ABC) if the ESPY deal didn’t get done.

“There was a hiccup during the talks about Caitlyn receiving the award, and her reps were prepared to pull her interview with Diane Sawyer if she didn’t get it,” the report said. “It was ironed out, and ABC owns one of the biggest stories of the year.”

Of course, there are some indications that Radar sensationalized quite a bit. A recent story from Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated noted that Jenner met with ESPYs producers Maura Mandt and Connor Schell in May. Jenner began meeting with Sawyer in February.

Mandt said the process of Jenner being selected was the same as it had been in previous years. She and Schell said there are no finalists or runner-ups for Ashe Award. The final decision on the award was made shortly after Mandt met Jenner, which she said did not happen until early May. Mandt said that the process for vetting the Ashe winner includes meeting with the potential recipient and those close to him or her, as well as consulting with people within the community of the winner, and people from the Ashe Foundation.

There have been more than a few people who questioned whether or not Jenner deserved the award, including this prominent sportscaster. And, I will admit, I thought it looked a bit cheap when a commercial aired for “I Am Cait” immediately after Jenner’s speech.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Arthur Ashe Courage Award was negotiated as some sort of business deal.

H/T Gossip Cop

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