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Caitlyn Jenner accepts ESPY award, but here's what one audience member saw




Caitlyn Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award onstage during the 2015 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Caitlyn Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award onstage during the 2015 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs on Wednesday night, but not without controversy.

Some argued that Jenner hasn't been a part of the sports world for years. Others sounded like Evander Holyfield who told the AP, "I just know that's Bruce Jenner and I'll leave it at that."

When Jenner took the stage, some were conscientious of how the audience would treat her.

Watching on TV, home viewers could see she got a rousing standing ovation. But Wade Davis was in the audience and he saw something different.

"Most people understood that they should stand up," he said, "but as I watched her give her speech, I don't think that everyone really cared."

Davis is a former NFL defensive back and came out as a gay man after leaving the league. He also leads the You Can Play Project, which promotes LGBT athletes.

He saw people texting and talking to their neighbors during Jenner's speech.

"It definitely signaled to me that most people weren't leaning in," he said.

Davis still believes that Jenner's speech was historic and important, but acknowledged that the sports world has far to go in accepting LGBT people.

"Most athletes aren't afraid of this conversation, but they want to have it without being called homophobic or transphobic," he said. "They've never been given the platform to ask these questions because so many of them are afraid that, if they do, that they'll be vilified or shamed."

Davis credits athletes like NFL player Torrey Smith for being curious and open with his questions on Twitter.

He firmly believes, though, that Jenner got a conversation going among athletes that they will carry back to locker rooms.

"What she will do and what she did yesterday was continue a conversation that will save lives," said Davis.