Event Raises More than $1,000,000 to benefit Special Olympics DC
On Tuesday, April 18, Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair was presented with the 40th annual Byron "Whizzer" White Award, the NFL Players Association's (NFLPA) highest honor. McNair was one of 16 NFL players to be honored at the NFL Players Gridiron Gala by James Brown, returning host of CBS Sports' "THE NFL TODAY," and Michael Wilbon, of the Washington Post and ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption."
The event, which recognized NFL players for their individual contributions to their communities, raised more than $1,000,000 to benefit Special Olympics D.C. It was the third consecutive year the NFLPA and PLAYERS INC partnered with Brown to honor some of the NFL's biggest heroes. For more information on the event, please visit NFLPLAYERS.com.
Honorees who received individual JB Awards included Mark Brunell (Washington Redskins) - Perseverance; Ernie Conwell (New Orleans Saints) - Act of Kindness; Brett Favre (Green Bay Packers) - Courage; Darrell Green (former Washington Redskin) - Lifetime Achievement; Joe Horn (New Orleans Saints) - Act of Kindness; Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens) - Empowering Youth; and the late Wellington Mara and Robert Tisch (New York Giants' President/Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chairman/Co-Chief Executive Officer) - Executive Leadership.
Additionally, JB Award recipients were nominated by their teammates upon the end of the season for their commitment to achieve excellence off the field through building better communities and stronger families. Out of the 32 players nominated (one per team), Brown personally selected the following 10 players to receive a JB Award: Willie Anderson (Cincinnati Bengals), Warrick Dunn (Atlanta Falcons), Joey Harrington (Detroit Lions), Torry Holt (St. Louis Rams), Kevin Mawae (Tennessee Titans), Steve McNair (Tennessee Titans), Shelton Quarles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Amani Toomer (New York Giants), Kurt Warner (Arizona Cardinals), and Roy Williams (Dallas Cowboys). Players who attended the Gala participated in a panel discussion.
"The recipients of these prestigious awards are a small representation of the hundreds of NFL players who donate their time, energy and resources to give back to their communities. They are leaders in the locker room and role models for our youth," said Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association.
Earlier in the day, many of the NFL players teamed up with Special Olympians for the annual charity basketball game. The game was held at George Washington University's Charles E. Smith Center and was open to the public.
The gala and surrounding activities will be filmed for a one-hour television special set to air in August on FSN. Reebok is the presenting sponsor of the NFL Players Gridiron Gala, which is also sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and AOL LLC.
Since the awards banquet was founded in 1972, the NFLPA and PLAYERS INC have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to several worthy causes and Special Olympics D.C. has benefited from the event for 11 consecutive years.
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS:
Founded by Eunice Shriver, Special Olympics provide sports training and competition opportunities for people who are mentally challenged. The organization has established chapters in more than 20,000 communities and 140 countries around the world. For the last several years, since the D.C. chapter lost funding from the city, the NFLPA and PLAYERS INC have rallied behind them to solicit support from the business and labor communities.
ABOUT PLAYERS INC:
Formed in 1994, PLAYERS INC is the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association. Representing more than 1,800 active and 3,500 retired NFL players, PLAYERS INC "takes the helmets off" the players and markets them as personalities as well as professional athletes. Through an exclusive sponsorship agreement between the NFL and PLAYERS INC, NFL players are integrated into NFL sponsor activation programs through PLAYERS INC. In addition, under an exclusive agreement between the NFL and PLAYERS INC, NFLPLAYERS.COM, PLAYERS INC's official website, is part of the NFL Internet Network. Each year PLAYERS INC negotiates and facilitates more than 3,500 player marketing opportunities for NFL players. PLAYERS INC activities include retail licensing, corporate sponsorships and promotions, special events, radio and television projects, publishing and internet. For more information, please visit NFLPLAYERS.COM.