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Cowboys QB Prescott Nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

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Dak Prescott on stage during his Faith Fight Finish Foundation Gala. | Image from Faith Fight Finish website

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The nominations for the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year award were announced on December 7. The Dallas Cowboys have nominated quarterback Dak Prescott for the 2021 season. The Walter Payton Man of the Year award was founded in 1970 to recognize NFL players’ contributions to their communities.

Prescott was previously nominated for the award in 2018. Since then, his foundation Faith Fight Finish has expanded to help numerous North Texas residents. Prescott created the foundation to honor his mother, who lost her battle with cancer in 2013. The foundation now plays an active role in social justice and mental well-being.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to be named the Dallas Cowboys’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year candidate, especially in light of all of the great things my teammates are doing in the community,” said Prescott. “I am proud of the work that my Faith Fight Finish Foundation is doing to support those facing adversity and the programming being developed to help those individuals, families, and communities find strength for a better future. If I can be the catalyst for conversations to be started or someone to seek help when they are feeling alone, I see that as a great purpose.”

The Man of the Year award primarily recognizes off-field activities but also considers the leadership that players show on the field. In a February 2021 interview with Peter King on Football Morning in America, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb spoke about Prescott’s impact on him during his rookie season in 2020.

“He has definitely made COVID year, having him and even not having him [on the field], a lot easier by helping me understand that the NFL is going to give you ups and downs,” Lamb said in the interview. “It’s gonna be with you, and it’s gonna be against you. It’s just a matter of how you approach it and how you handle it. I just want to handle it the right way.”

Prescott was seriously injured in Week 5 of the 2020 season. Due to COVID protocols, he was not able to spend the quality and quantity of time to recover that is typically available in normal years. Despite the difficulties, Lamb and Prescott have become one of the league’s most dangerous passing and receiving duos.

Prescott’s foundation, Faith Fight Finish, is involved in several social justice efforts to improve community relations with law enforcement officers. Following the killing of George Floyd, Prescott pledged $1 million to address police training, education, and advocacy, according to the team’s website.

Through his foundation, Prescott has helped create dialogue and open conversation between youth organizations, community members, and law enforcement personnel to help reduce the causes of systemic racism.

In April 2020, Prescott’s older brother Jace took his own life. Prescott dedicated himself and the efforts of his foundation to improve mental health availability in the wake of the tragedy. He and his foundation have teamed up with other athletes and organizations to advocate for mental health causes.

Each of the NFL’s 32 teams selects a nominee for the award, which comes with a $40,000 donation to the player’s chosen charity. The winner will be announced in a special ceremony the Thursday before the Super Bowl. The winner will see a $250,000 donation to their charity. The NFL Foundation and Nationwide provide the funds for the awards.

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