caitlyn-jenner vanity fair

*Amid torrential backlash over its decision to give Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s ESPYs, ESPN has released a statement defending the choice, particularly over other candidates that social media has deemed more deserving.

Lauren Hill, the college basketball player who recently lost her battle with brain cancer, and Noah Galloway, the double-amputee Iraq War veteran and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, were pointed out the most by folks expressing outrage as more worthy recipients.

ESPN had this to say in response:

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is meant to honor individuals whose contributions transcend sports through courageous action. Sometimes that courage is demonstrated over the course of a lifetime and sometimes it is demonstrated in a single act that shines a light on an important contemporary issue. At all times, there are many worthy candidates. This year, we are proud to honor Caitlyn Jenner embracing her identity and doing so in a public way to help move forward a constructive dialogue about progress and acceptance.

Read ESPN’s June 1 announcement of Jenner as the Arthur Ashe Award recipient here.