Cowboys’ Dak Prescott well-deserving Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee
On Tuesday, Dec. 7, the Dallas Cowboys named quarterback Dak Prescott as the team’s 2021 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Considered one of the NFL’s most prestigious awards, nominees are players throughout the league who exhibit excellence and service both on and off the field. Every year, each of the 32 teams gets to nominate only one player.
As a nominee, Prescott gets to wear a Walter Payton Man of the Year decal on his helmet for the rest of the season. He will also receive up to $40,000 to donate to the charity of his choice, and he will get an additional $250,000 to give if he wins the award.
The Dallas passer was nominated alongside Mike Evans, Aaron Jones, Derrick Henry, and 28 other nominees. Prescott would join impressive company if he ultimately wins. Previous Cowboys to win this award include Jason Witten (2012), Troy Aikman (1997), and Roger Staubach (1978).
There is no denying that the Pro Bowl QB has made a large impact on those affected by cancer, mental health concerns, suicide prevention, and social justice. He does so through his Faith, Fight, Finish (FFF) Foundation, which has evolved throughout his career.
Cowboys’ Dak Prescott is honored by his well-deserved 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination.
After losing his mother, Peggy, to colon cancer in 2013, Prescott initially launched his FFF Foundation as a way to help the fight against cancer. The charity was a way for him to use his platform to show people that, like his mother, you can turn adversity into inspiration – which he has certainly had to do several times throughout his life and career. The FFF Foundation provides free colonoscopy screenings in underserved communities and resources to families affected by cancer.
As the quarterback continued to face more adversity and become aware of the problems facing the world, he added more causes to the FFF Foundation’s outreach. In the wake of the George Floyd murder, Prescott wrote an op-ed and pledged to donate $1 million of his 2021 salary to address systemic racism. This money is going towards police training, advocacy initiatives, and education. The foundation also created a Law Enforcement Steering Committee, which brings community youth, nearby leaders, and law enforcement personnel together to develop a police training program.
In recent years, Prescott has been a huge advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. During the pandemic, Prescott lost his older brother Jace to suicide, which caused the quarterback to experience extreme symptoms of depression himself. He was only tested further after suffering a severe, season-ending ankle injury just six months later. Despite getting pushback about his strength and ability to lead from people like Skip Bayless, Prescott remained a strong promoter of asking for help when you need it, writing “Ask 4 Help” on his wrist tape for every game.
Even though Prescott deserves praise for all of his efforts to help a variety of issues in our modern society, the 28-year-old shared a message saying he is humbled by the team’s decision.
The Dallas quarterback wasn’t the only person to speak out from the organization. Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones had this to say about Prescott’s nomination:
"“Dak Prescott is an awesome example of the great things that professional athletes can do off the field. Since Day One, Dak has used his platform to help make a difference for others. Whether he is working as a cancer advocate, bringing youth and police together for honest conversations, or simply writing ‘Ask 4 Help’ on his taped wrist for fans to see on television, Dak wants to be an inspiration to others.”"
The winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award will be announced during the NFL Honors ceremony, which will air the Thursday before the Super Bowl on ABC. If Prescott wins, he will be recognized during the Super Bowl pregame and wear an honorary jersey patch for the rest of his NFL career. Even if he isn’t chosen out of the 32 nominees, there is no doubt that Prescott has continually shown that he can turn adversity into inspiration, just like his mother taught him.
You can vote for Dak Prescott to win additional donation money on Twitter by tweeting #WPMOYChallenge followed by “Prescott” and/or his Twitter handle between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17.