Following the 2015 season, Marshawn Lynch retired from football. After a year out of the game, he had the itch to play again. But the only way he would do it is for his hometown Oakland Raiders. Not just because he was a fan growing up, or because he’d be close to The Town, but because playing in Oakland would allow him the most opportunity to help the community he loved so dearly.
Thursday those efforts were recognized by the Raiders who made him their nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
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.
“We are proud to nominate Marshawn Lynch for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award,” said Raiders Owner Mark Davis. “Marshawn’s impact on the field is easy to see. But it is off the field where he really makes a difference. While others may talk the talk, Marshawn walks the walk.”
Lynch does a great deal of his community outreach through his Fam1st Family Foundation. Established in 2006, the foundation has embodied the intrinsic family values of loyalty and leadership to impact the lives of Oakland’s disenfranchised residents.
This year, Lynch hosted 25 kids for a trip to London to watch the Raiders play Seattle at Wembley Stadium. His foundation sponsored a concert to increase voter participation where attendees must be registered to vote to attend. Lynch also fulfilled a child’s “wish” through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In July, he hosted his 12th annual free football clinic, in addition to a bowling night and celebrity bartending event as part of Fam1st’s annual Celebrity Fundraising week. In August, he provided kids with backpacks, school supplies, haircuts and hair braiding in Oakland and Seattle.
For the past 11 years, Lynch has sponsored a turkey giveaway for Oakland families. His Fam1st Family Foundation hosts after-school programs including tutoring, individualized learning, exposing youth architecture and design through hands on projects, field trips and mentorship, teaching youth how to construct and produce music and installing entrepreneurial confidence and giving youth the tools to understanding and creating business plans.
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 December 6 and January 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.
More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award can be found at http://www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.