Sunday, June 21, 2015

Did Jenner, or E! Network, Pay for Arthur Ashe Award?

I'm not accusing anyone of bribing ESPN or its employees at this point.   I'm just looking for a logical explanation for giving the wealthy actor formerly known as Bruce Jenner an award for courage for a decision that required no special courage because the decision is going to make him even richer.  I also want an explanation for why ESPN which is owned by ABC is going out of its way to promote a program on the E! Network which is owned by NBC.   A bribe is a logical possibility considering Jenner's purported wealth and the tendency of many rich people to think they should be able to buy anything they want. 

I'll suggest another possibility in my next post.

How can anyone with an ounce of sense give a courage award to someone for accepting a reality show contract to appear as a woman, or, for that matter, as Count Dracula or a clown?   I don't recall anyone giving Jamie Farr a courage award for playing the crossdressing Cpl. Max Klinger on "M*A*S*H*".  Would Jenner have gotten a courage award if Paramount had given him a contract to appear in public and on television as part of a new "Star Trek"  series in which he  played an alien such as a Klingon, a Bajoran, or maybe even a Cardassian?  

Perhaps if Jenner's "condition" had kept him from getting a contract there might be some merit in considering his action courageous.  How can doing something that is financially rewarding be considered courageous?  Giving Jenner an award based on his "condition" implies that he is afflicted with something dreadful like Jim Valvano's cancer or Pat Summitt's dementia.

The whole decision smells like there is more than one dead skunk in the middle of the road.   The timeline for Jenner's various publicity activities strongly implies that Jenner, or more likely his publicity agent, had arranged with ESPN for the award before the interview with Diane Sawyer was telecast on April 24th.  ESPN's announcement just after the publication of  the Vanity Fair article appeared  sound's like they scheduled the announcement in conjunction with  publication of the article. The claim that they hadn't been  considering anyone else implies they made the decision long before the article was published.  The award will be given out just before Jenner's new series starts.

Considering the prestige associated with the Arthur Ashe award, the expectation would be that potential nominees would be selected by at least the end of March so they could be properly evaluated.  The people at ESPN seem to be saying they waited until the last minute and grabbed Jenner's name  out of the news.   Wouldn't it be more believable to think that they worked out a deal to give Jenner the award as part of his publicity campaign for his new show?  Or, in other words the award is just part of a publicity stunt.  It is common to pay those who help publicize a tv series.

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