While this hasn’t been a career year for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the field, his efforts off the field has resulted in national recognition. On Thursday morning, the Lions announced that Matthew Stafford is their 2018 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, given to the league’s player with the most outstanding off-the-field and community efforts.
According to the Lions’ official press release, Stafford was nominated for several reasons. He has helped support S.A.Y. Detroit, a charity that provides shelter, foot and medical care to those in need. Stafford also works with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to help target childhood obesity and motivate youth to keep active and eat healthy.
Team president Rod Wood offered this statement on Stafford’s nomination:
“Matthew Stafford has been a great ambassador for the Lions and NFL in the Detroit community and throughout Southeast Michigan. In addition to making substantial financial contributions to organizations in need, he has privately impacted many families in specific and meaningful ways. Matthew is always looking to do the right thing and we are very proud to have him as the Detroit Lions nominee for the 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year.”
Stafford is not only now one of 32 nominees to win the award this year—an award no Detroit Lions player has ever won—but he will already earn $50,000 to a charity of his choosing.
Starting Thursday, fans can help support Stafford’s nomination by voting for him on Twitter. Using the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge and tweeting “Stafford,” the Lions quarterback could win the Charity Challenge, which would result in a $25,000 donation to the charity of Stafford’s choosing. Note: These votes will not affect the Walter Payton Man of the Year results, only this social media challenge.
Here is Stafford’s statement on being nominated:
“Walter was such an incredible person and player and there have been so many influential people, great people that have been nominated – whether by their team or won the award through the NFL throughout the years. When I think back on the things that we have done as a family, I feel proud of what we have accomplished in the community here. Detroit is a place that needs love, attention and help, and I feel blessed that I got drafted here to a place that needed that. It’s been an eye-opening experience for me and a great opportunity to make changes in people’s lives. It is a great honor and something that is extremely humbling.”
Congratulations to Stafford and his family for their charitable efforts in Detroit!