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Lauren Hill more deserving of ESPY than Caitlyn Jenner: fans

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 6/2/2015 BERNIE AUGUSTINE
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gives thumbs up as she holds the game ball on Nov. 2. © Tom Uhlman/AP Photo Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gives thumbs up as she holds the game ball on Nov. 2.

ESPN did something unexpected on Monday — they got people to care about the ESPYs.

The network announced Monday afternoon that Caitlyn Jenner would receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at next month’s ESPYs award show in Los Angeles, honoring the person formerly known as Bruce Jenner for "(showing) the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces," ESPYs executive producer Maura Mandt said in a statement announcing the award.

While Jenner has been celebrated for her choice, ESPN has been criticized for making Jenner its choice.

Many sports fans are accusing ESPN of chasing the day’s trend forgetting the not-so-recent past.

College basketball player Lauren Hill, who battled a brain tumor during her freshman year at Mount St. Joseph’s before dying, is the name being bandied about on Twitter as the person ESPN should have honored on July 15.

“Glad Jenner is finally able to live life on her own terms, but the Ashe award for courage? Lauren Hill deserves that,” Cliff Saunders tweeted.

“While I think it’s cool @ESPN is awarding Caitlyn Jenner, there was nobody more courageous than Lauren Hill in all of sports,” Mike Piff tweeted.

“@ESPYS happy that Jenner is finding peace. But how can you not choose Lauren Hill?” Total miss in my opinion,” tweeted Garrett Self.

Hill dedicated the final months of her life to raising funds to help fight cancer — she was afflicted with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma, a type of brain tumor that normally affects children and has a low cure rate — and raised more than $1.5 million before she died on April 10. ESPN did not immediatedly respond to a request for comment on the feedback the network is getting for its choice of Jenner.

While Hill is the name most frequently floated as a Jenner replacement, Hall of Fame Bills quarterback Jim Kelley, a cancer survivor, and O.J. Brigance, the Ravens executive and former linebacker who has ALS, have also been mentioned.

Leah Still, the daughter of Bengals lineman Devon Still — whose story, along with Hill’s, received ample airtime on ESPN — was also mentioned as a potential recipient, but the Stills will instead receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award that same night.

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