LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The Washington Redskins announced today their nomination of tight end Vernon Davis for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the _Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award _presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Each of the league’s 32 nominees were announced today.
Vernon Davis was selected for his deep commitment to the community over his last three seasons with the Redskins. He has participated in countless events hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, including Fuel Up to Play 60 Mini-Combines, the Redskins Runway Show, the 4th and Life High School Football Forum and many others. Throughout his years on the team, Vernon has looked for unique ways to support and improve the lives of children in the community where he was born and raised.
In 2012, Davis created the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts as a way to promote art education and art appreciation among youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts provides scholarships to dedicated art students and grants to deserving nonprofit programs who share the same values and ideals that the Foundation upholds.
Most recently, Davis began his Read 85 reading campaign where he visited six underserved public schools in the Washington, D.C. area to speak to students and encourage them to use reading as a tool to succeed. Over the course of the Read 85 tour, the campaign donated over 500 books and impacted over 3,000 students.
In addition to Vernon's efforts with his foundation, he is also active with various organizations in the community, such as the National Center for Law and Homelessness, the Boys and Girls Club and the Covenant House. In 2017, Davis won the Stewart B. McKinney Award for his efforts to raise awareness for and influence others to join the fight against homelessness.
"There's nothing like being able to make a difference amongst those who are seeking empowerment and those who yearn to be inspired," said Davis. "If I can encourage our youth to explore and do whatever it is they aspire to do, from painting to playing the flute, that fills my heart with joy and motivates me to do even more. Making a change one day at a time is what I live for."
Davis will wear customized cleats that support his foundation for the NFL’s "My Cause, My Cleats" initiative this year. The proceeds from the auction of his cleats will directly benefit the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts.
"We are thrilled to announce Vernon Davis as the Redskins nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year," said Jane Rodgers, Executive Director of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation. "His commitment to bettering the community has been evident through his long and successful career and is enhanced this year with his Read 85 program and passion for helping kids in the Washington D.C. area reach their educational goals."
As a nominee, Vernon Davis will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field.
New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Five hundred thousand dollars will be donated in the name of the 2018 winner. $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way’s digital character education program. An additional donation of $250,000 will be donated to the charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee’s last name somewhere in the post between Dec. 6 and Jan. 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.
To learn more about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award and Davis' nomination, visit http://www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.