Have you heard the rumor that Sgt. Noah Galloway, a wounded Army vet who competes in fitness competitions, was the runner-up to win the 2015 ESPY Arthur Ashe Courage Award that will go to Caitlyn Jenner?
If you haven’t, many others have, and are spreading it over social media. Angrily.
For instance, @MilitaryUSA, which has 188,000 followers:
What a joke pic.twitter.com/SD7sTVzGSY— Military USA (@MiIitaryUSA) June 2, 2015
This has been retweeted more than 50,000 times.
It isn’t true.
An ESPN spokesperson told Boston.com that the Arthur Ashe Courage Award has no runners-up. In a statement, the channel said: “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.’’
Snopes tracked the rumor back to one person, whose name should be familiar to Boston sports radio listeners: Gerry Callahan, host of WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan.’’
Caitlyn Jenner wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award. And the runner-up is .... pic.twitter.com/DKUdnPT8Gx— Gerry Callahan (@GerryCallahan) June 1, 2015
Callahan, who is no stranger to Twitter-related controversy, told Boston.com in an email that the tweet was meant sarcastically, which “anyone who knows me, my radio show or my history on Twitter knows.’’
So no, he doesn’t actually think that Galloway, who lost most of his arm and leg while serving in Iraq, was the runner-up. Even though, with his comment now taken out of context through the magic of Twitter, thousands of others do.
“It wasn’t until it made it around the globe that it got a little out of hand,’’ Callahan said. “I laughed. I was glad to see the Lauren Hill fans jump on board. They should be pissed. She would have been a great choice.’’
“I personally would have chosen Pete Frates’’ to win the award, he said. “But would have had no problem if the honor had gone to Lauren Hill or Noah Galloway. You can admire Jenner all you want, but to put Caitlyn in the discussion with those real-life heroes is just silly.’’
“ESPN should give itself an award for over-the-top pandering,’’ he said.
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