- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2015

Supporters of Lauren Hill, the freshman Mount St. Joseph University basketball player who died this year of brain cancer, are selling T-shirts that say “The Real MVP” after Caitlyn Jenner was chosen over the teen for ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.

The T-shirts, approved by Hill’s family and The Cure Starts Now foundation, show the 19-year-old wearing her No. 22 team jersey and holding a basketball. It says “The Real MVP,” with “Thank you Lauren” across the bottom, Fox News first reported.

According to Cincy Shirts, 50 percent of the sales will be donated to The Cure Starts Now, which benefits cancer research, as well as families dealing with cancer.

ESPN has received a wave of criticism since it was announced Wednesday that Caitlyn Jenner would receive the honor at this year’s ESPY Awards ceremony. Caitlyn is the new female identity of former Olympic gold-medal winner Bruce Jenner, 65, which was revealed by Vanity Fair on Monday.

ESPN defended the decision-making process, saying “many people are discussed every year,” and that “there is no such thing as a runner-up.” They also provided a written statement which said Jenner was chosen “to help move forward a constructive dialogue about progress and acceptance,” Fox News reported.

Hill fundraised for The Cure Starts Now Foundation to find a cure for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), the cancer she was diagnosed with in December 2013, Fox News reported.

When asked about the award, Mount St. Joseph University women’s basketball coach Dan Benjamin said his vote definitely would have been for his former player.

“I can only speak for the journey I went on with Lauren. I cannot speak to anyone else’s. Of course, I want Lauren to get the award,” he told Fox News.

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