The NY Daily News is reporting the likelihood that ABC gave former Olympian Bruce Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in exchange for his exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer.
In April it was announced that the ESPYs was moving to ABC Network to boost viewership. ESPN was hemorrhaging money producing the poorly-rated awards show.
Critics say it's no coincidence that the ESPYs and Jenner's interview with Sawyer are on the same network.
ABC and the ESPYs received heavy criticism for giving Jenner an ESPY for dressing in drag, while ignoring collegiate women's basketball player Lauren Hill who died of cancer weeks after playing her final game.
One TV insider told Page Six, “Jenner was given the award after the Sawyer interview. After all, ESPN is part of the ABC family.”
Twitter users sent Lauren Hill trending this week as millions of users trashed ABC and the ESPYs for choosing TV ratings over true courage.
@KristinH1998 wrote, “Elective surgery isn’t courage or bravery. Fighting brain cancer with grace and dignity at 19 is. Lauren is most deserving.”
An ESPN spokesperson denied the connection between Jenner's ABC interview and the award.
"That rumor is false. The Arthur Ashe Award and Diane Sawyer interview were never connected.”
An ABC News rep also weighed in on the controversy, saying, “There is absolutely no connection between the interview and the award.”
More from Sandrarose.com: