Russell Wilson would probably tell you himself: this is so much better than an MVP vote.
The day before the Super Bowl, the NFL made Wilson the biggest winner of the weekend, announcing him as the recipient of the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Each year the league honors one player for “outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on it.”
Wilson centered his acceptance speech around his father, who died in 2010. “Dad, I remember you telling me in the car one day, ‘Son, love changes things.’ Well, Dad, you were right. I wish you were here to tell the world that in the toughest of times.
“The great Walter Payton once said, ‘We are stronger together than we are alone.’ Dad, I think Walter was right. To the young boy or girl who has a dream, who wants to make a difference, remember this one thing: Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love changes things. Thank you.”
The Seahawks quarterback’s elite performance on the field is not disputed, and it’s common knowledge around here that no matter the time of year, in the busiest week of the season or the slowest one of the off-season, Wilson can be found on Tuesdays visiting terminally ill patients and their families in Seattle at Children’s Hospital.
If you don’t care for your eyes to remain dry, there are countless videos a few clicks away that illustrate just how much RW’s presence in a difficult situation lifts spirits. (Here are three links to get you started, from 2014, 2016 and 2017.)
Wilson and his wife Ciara also donated $1 million to Feeding America, the country’s preeminent organization battling hunger.
In turn, the NFL will donate $250,000 to a charity of Wilson’s choosing.
The last Seahawk to garner this prestigious accolade was Steve Largent in 1988.