Entertainment Caitlyn Jenner to be honored with Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPYs Caitlyn Jenner, 65, attended this year's New York's LGBT Pride Week. Pictured is her on the cover of Vanity Fair's July 2015 issue, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz exclusively for Vanity Fair By NEIL BEST email@example.com @sportswatch July 13, 2015 5:01 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email ESPN has faced plenty of skepticism over its decision to give the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner at "The ESPYs" Wednesday night, conveniently timed for the show's first airing on ABC. Most notably, Bob Costas, in an appearance on Dan Patrick's radio show, called it "a crass exploitation play, a tabloid play," mostly designed to pump up the ratings. Maura Mandt, who has been associated with the show since 1996 and now is co-executive producer, told SI.com that the move to ABC -- and thus a potentially larger and less sports-specific audience -- played no role in choosing Jenner. She also said she found Costas' take "disappointing" and strongly denied any cynical motives were at play. "I think Caitlyn's decision to publicly come out as a transgender woman and live as Caitlyn Jenner displayed enormous courage and self-acceptance," Mandt told SI in her first public comments on the matter. "Bruce Jenner could have easily gone off into the sunset as this American hero and never have dealt with this publicly. Doing so took enormous courage. He was one of the greatest athletes of our time. "That is what the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is about, somebody from the athletic community who has done something that transcends sport. One of the biggest platforms the Arthur Ashe Foundation has is educational, and I think in this choice we have the opportunity to educate people about this issue and hopefully change and possibly save some lives." By NEIL BEST firstname.lastname@example.org @sportswatch Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, returned in 1985 after a detour to Alaska and has been here since, specializing in high schools, college basketball, the NFL and most recently sports media and business. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Miley Cyrus donates Caitlyn Jenner artwork, raises $69,000 for AIDS researchPop singer Miley Cyrus daubed glitter and paint over magazine covers showing transgender reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, then donated them to a gala auction, raising $69,000 for AIDS research. Celeb restaurant sightingsGet into the hot seat at a table at celebs' favorite restaurants. Caitlyn Jenner gets patriotic on Facebook Call her proud of her country. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.