Patriots DB Devin McCourty Selected As Teams Walter Payton NFL Man Of The Year Nominee
On Thursday afternoon the New England Patriots announced that DB Devin McCourty would be their 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the year nominee.
McCourty is one of 32 nominees in the NFL with every team in the league announcing their selection on Thursday. McCourty has been consistent figure in the community including being an active spokesperson and advocate for the NFL Play 60 program, various holiday initiatives throughout the year, and a holiday shopping spree he sponsors that helps children experiencing homelessness.
In addition McCourty has been a vocal advocate on the discussion of juvenile criminal justice reform, the school to prison pipeline, and the disproportionate punishment for students of color. McCourty in addition to traveling across the region to discuss these issues visited the Massachusetts state house and participated in panels with local law enforcement and thanks to his leadership Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill back in April that raises the age at which children can be charged in juvenile court from 7 to 12.
Patriots Owner Robert Kraft is certainly proud of his player an spoke at length on what McCourty means to both the team and the community.
“This Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is such a special award. One of the privileges of buying the team is getting exposed to so many great young men. But, Devin we drafted in 2010 and I don’t know of anyone else who was elected a captain in his second year and consistent right through. But, he was so mature, so classy, so good. His mom did an outstanding job. He is awesome on the field, but what he does outside of here that’s so important to our family, no one exceeds that. That’s why we were happy to award him the Ron Burton Community Award. But, what he and his brother have done in sickle cell anemia and also in social justice, how he helped influence legislation to change the law from young people in this state not being able to be incarcerated – it used to be seven, now it’s 12. But, he helped and was a major force in making that happen, working with the Players Coalition on many issue throughout the league. So, it’s really a great honor to be able to present Devin with this.” Said Kraft on Thursday.
In the past McCourty’s efforts off the field had been primarily in the holiday efforts and raising money for sickle cell research. But over the last year or so he has turned his efforts into social injustice causes. McCourty when asked of why his attention turned it is simple, he wants to shine a light on topics that no one seems to be talking about but are very important.
“I would say just being able to serve people. The reason I got into sickle cell was my aunt has the disease, my uncle has the disease, and then the more I looked into it, a lot of minorities have the disease and it just doesn’t get covered. No one really talks about it, and I felt it was the same thing with the different social injustice issues and topics that I kind of dove into. It was people that often in our country are not cared about really and no one gives it a second look. It’s kind of just overlooked. It was issues that I felt with my platform I could jump in and try to highlight and spotlight different people’s stories and let people see them. I think because of that, we’ve been able to see stories for a lot of people that would have never looked at them, host events or do different things where information has come out and people are kind of blown away. I think sometimes we get the notion that people don’t care, but sometimes it’s just they don’t know. So, spotlighting that and bringing that to the light I think has been an awesome experience.” said McCourty on Thursday.
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.