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2018 ESPYS: Sexual Abuse Accusers to Receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Accusers who spoke out against former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor will be honored at ESPN’s awards on July 18

The women who accused former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2018 ESPYS, ESPN announced on Wednesday.

“We are honored to recognize the courage of these women at the 2018 ESPYS, to acknowledge the power of their voices, and to shine a very well-deserved spotlight on what speaking up, fighting back, and demanding accountability can accomplish,” Alison Overholt, vice president and editor in chief, ESPN the Magazine, espnW and the ESPYS, said in a statement. 

“They have shown us all what it truly means to speak truth to power, and through their bravery, they are making change for future generations. By honoring this group who spoke out, we aim to honor all of those who are survivors of abuse.”  

Prior recipients of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award include Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Caitlyn Jenner, Michael Sam, Robin Roberts, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela.

Maura Mandt, executive producer for the ESPYS, added: “For 25 years, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage has been given to those who change the world in important ways, and the future will undoubtedly be different because of the actions of these heroic women. This tribute will reflect the awe and admiration these individuals deserve.”

In January, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after being accused of sexual abuse by more than 150 women. Among his accusers are Olympic gymnasts Gabby Douglas and teammate Aly Raisman.

On Wednesday, Michigan State University agreed to pay the victims $500 million, according to a group of lawyers representing the 332 people who accused him of sexual abuse, ABC News reported. Of the total, $425 million will go to current claimants (the 332 people being represented by the lawyers) and the remaining $75 million will be set aside in a trust fund in case there are any future claimants who come forward alleging abuse by Nassar.

ESPN is planning on having many of the women on stage to receive the award when the 2018 ESPYS take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on July 18. The show will air live on ABC.