Prince Harry receives Pat Tillman Award tonight amid controversy

The Duke will receive the award at tonight’s ESPYs for founding the Invictus Games, despite facing backlash.

Pop Culture & Art July 11, 2024

Prince Harry is set to receive the Pat Tillman Award at the ESPY Awards tonight, recognising his decade-long efforts in founding the Invictus Games. 

The award, named after former NFL player and US Army Ranger Pat Tillman who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004, aims to honour Harry’s commitment to supporting injured servicemen and women. However, the announcement has sparked controversy, with a petition on urging ESPN to reconsider the decision.

Royal expert Dr. Tessa Dunlop advises Harry to "ignore the naysayers" and "stand proud" when accepting the award. "Tonight, Prince Harry will accept the Tillman Award for Service at the 2024 ESPYS," Dunlop told the Mirror. She noted that the petition, which has gathered thousands of signatures, makes unfair comparisons between Tillman and Harry, who served two tours in Afghanistan.

Pat Tillman's mother, Mary, expressed shock at the decision, which has hurt and surprised Harry. Dunlop argues that Harry's ten-year success with the Invictus Games highlights his ability to serve the veteran community credibly. "Like it or not, the Duke has a gift," she said.

Helen Lewis, who lost her son Lieutenant Aaron Lewis in Afghanistan, praised Harry’s empathetic nature. "He was always so friendly and put us and the grandchildren at ease," she recalled. Dunlop emphasised Harry's genuine care and his ongoing commitment to military families.

Dr. Dunlop concluded, "Harry is picking it up for the men and women whose lives were lost, or changed forever, in war." She believes his ability to connect on a human level is the key to his success as an ambassador for military veterans.


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