Pat Tillman's Mother Mary Is Upset That Prince Harry Will Receive the ESPY That Bears Her Son's Name

ESPN announced last week that Prince Harry will be honored with the Pat Tillman Award for service at the upcoming ESPY Awards.

Pat Tillman's mother is speaking out after ESPN announced its decision to honor Prince Harry with an award in the late hero's name at its upcoming 2024 ESPY Awards

The sports network announced last Thursday that the Duke of Sussex is set to receive one of the three highest honors of the evening, the Pat Tillman Award for service

"I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award," Tillman's mother, Mary, told The Daily Mail

"There are recipients that are far more fitting," she continued. "There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans. These individuals do not have the money, resources, connections or privilege that Prince Harry has. I feel that those types of individuals should be recognized."

Tillman was an Arizona Cardinals safety who left the NFL to enlist in the Army following the September 11th attacks. He died in Afghanistan in 2004. He was 27. 

Arizona Cardinals defensive back Pat Tillman smiles during the pregame on May 27, 2000. - Gene Lower/Getty Images

According to a press release, Harry is being presented with the award "in honor of his tireless work in making a positive impact for the veteran community through the power of sport."

The statement continued, "Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service, an award given to a person with a strong connection to sports who has served others in a way that echoes the legacy of the former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger, Pat Tillman."

The ESPYS is recognizing the work that Harry has done for the last 10 years with his Invictus Games competition, which has allowed veterans with both visible and invisible injuries from various countries to compete in Olympic-level athletic competitions. 

Like Tillman, Harry himself is a veteran, who served in the British Armed Forces as a forward air controller and Apache helicopter pilot. During his time in the military, Harry also did two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

It has not been announced if Harry will attend the ceremony to receive the award in person.

Prince Harry - Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Last year, the Pat Tillman award was presented to the Buffalo Bills training staff for providing life saving care to Damar Hamlin during his near-fatal incident on the field during a game. Other former recipients include Gretchen Evans and Chris Wood.

This year, the ESPYS will also award Coach Dawn Staley with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and Steve Gleason will receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.

The 2024 ESPYS will be hosted by Serena Williams and will air live Thursday, July 11 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.