On December 6 the Tampa Bay Bucs announced nine-year veteran and six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy as their nominee this year for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The award, presented by Nationwide, recognizes players for their performance on the field as well as their community service off of the field.
This nomination is well deserved. McCoy is known for his outstanding community service and charitable efforts. He is the only two-time winner of Pop Warner’s Inspiration to Youth Award, and since 2013 he has been the leader in the Bucs fundraiser Cut for a Cure. He has personally donated to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation and has also served as a celebrity participant in the Fashions Funds for the Cure event. He and his family host their annual McCoy Family Christmas event, which surprises and provides many struggling single-parent families with holiday gifts. During training camp, he also works with Special Olympics Florida, hosts youth football camps and participates in the D-Line Delivers Christmas event. Just this past September he helped to launch the Buccaneers Social Justice Initiative and serves on the board. This fall McCoy launched Gerald McCoy’s Patricia Diane Foundation in honor of his late mother. The Foundation focuses on support for single parent households. Just to name a few of his off-field community involvement activities.
“If there’s a more giving, generous person that I’ve been around in the NFL, I’d be hard pressed to name a guy that gives more of his time and money,” said Buccaneer head coach Dirk Koetter. “[I’m] proud of Gerald for representing the Bucs.”
The owner/president of the Buccaneers and Glazer Foundations, Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, said, “Gerald is not only a leader of this franchise, he is a fixture in our community. His passion is to serve others and his commitment to his family, his faith and the greater good is unwavering.”
“I always say when God has put us where we’re at and given us a platform. It’s not for us, it’s not to be used selfishly, it’s to be used to bless others as much as possible. I don’t do it for the recognition, it’s good to be recognized, but ultimately for me, this means that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m trying to change the world one person at a time as much as I can,” said McCoy. “I’m going to be me and I’m unapologetic about it. People criticize me all the time for being too nice of a guy. I just don’t see how that’s ever been a problem in life. So I’m going to continue to be me,” he added during his interview.
When asked if he identifies with these families who just want the best for their kids and how he feels about having the opportunity to do this, he said, “Last year at the McCoy family Christmas a family came up to me; we had given all these gifts, given them dinner, toured the facility, all these different things and they came up to me and said, ‘Gerald, do you think it would be okay if we took the Christmas tree?’ Like, that puts things into perspective, all this stuff and all they wanted was a Christmas tree, you know. If I can change their life in that way, that’s what I’m going to keep doing. A Christmas tree, people don’t understand ma, like, they wanted a Christmas tree, they’d never had a Christmas tree, and that hits me in my heart. So I’m just going to keep being myself, and my entire family, we’re just going to keep doing it.”
McCoy is just an all-around great guy, and as one of his biggest fans, I am so excited for him!
Gerald will wear a Walter Payton Man of the Year decal on his helmet for the remainder of the season. The winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a 2-hour primetime awards special on February 2 on CBS. $500,000 will be donated in the name of the winner, half of which will go towards the charity of their choice, while the other half will be donated to expand Character Playbook, a digital character education program by the NFL and United Way. The other 31 nominees will receive a $50,000 donation to expand Character Playbook and up to $50,000 to the charity of their choice.
You can participate in the annual Charity Challenge by tweeting with #WPMOYChallenge along with the last name of the nominee of your choice (McCoy) on Twitter between December 6 and January 13. The player with the most hashtags will receive a $25,000 donation to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. Information and rules can be found here.
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