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ESPN responded to criticism from Pat Tillman’s mother after she publicly criticized the network for naming Prince Harry as the winner of an award named after her son.

ESPN announced that Prince Harry would receive the Pat Tillman Award for his work with the Invictus games.

Tillman turned down a multi-million NFL contract to enlist in the Army after the September 11 attacks. He was tragically killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004, sacrificing his life in service to his nation.

The Duke of Sussex is the founding patron of the Invictus Games. The event is an international Paralympic-style multi-sport event featuring hundreds of wounded veterans.

The network said in a statement that Harry would receive the 2024 Pat Tillman Award “in honor of his tireless work in making a positive impact for the veteran community through the power of sport.”

RELATED: Prince Harry Asked To Step Down From Invictus Games, Vets Complain It’s ‘Too Royal’ Since Meghan Got Involved

Prince Harry To Receive Pat Tillman Award

Pat Tillman’s mother, Mary, slammed ESPN for awarding the honor to Prince Harry. She claimed she was never consulted about the decision.

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

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

“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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ESPN Fires Back

ESPN responded to Pat Tillman’s mother objecting to their selection of Prince Harry for the award. The outlet said they “understand not everyone will agree.”

Mary Tillman seems like a very important person to not have in your corner on this particular award.

“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,” a statement from the network reads.

The Invictus Games are an incredibly important event. The timing for ESPN is a bit odd though.

It’s interesting that they chose Prince Harry for the Pat Tillman Award when just over a month ago veterans were asking the Duke of Sussex to step away from the event because it had become “too royal”.

Royal biographer Angela Levin, in a report by GBN, claimed the event was “more about Harry and wife Meghan Markle than the veterans themselves.”

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