For Immediate Release
January 28, 2017
Media Contact: Brandon Parker | Communications Manager
Brandon.Parker@nflpa.com | 202-403-4779
FIVE FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2017 BYRON “WHIZZER” WHITE AWARD
NFLPA’s highest honor is presented annually to the player who has a profound impact on his community
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The NFL Players Association is proud to announce the five finalists for the 2017 Byron “Whizzer” White Award: Johnny Hekker (Los Angeles Rams), Malcolm Jenkins (Philadelphia Eagles), Rashad Jennings (New York Giants), Clinton McDonald (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks).
The award is the highest honor the NFLPA can bestow on a player, annually recognizing those who go above and beyond to perform community service in their team cities and hometowns. The winner, who will receive $100,00 for his foundation or a charity of his choice, will be announced at 3:30 p.m. CST on February 2 at the NFLPA’s annual Super Bowl press conference.
The finalists’ applications will be reviewed and voted on by a panel of judges across labor, media, sport, service and charity. The committee includes Charlie Batch (former NFL player and 2013 winner of the Whizzer White award), Ryan Clark (former NFL player and NFLPA Executive Committee member), Kelly Love (VP of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Delta Private Jets), Tom Pelissero (NFL writer for USA Today), Marc Pollick (President and founder of The Giving Back Fund) and D. Taylor (President of UNITE HERE).
Each team’s locker room was given the opportunity to nominate players during the regular season, and each submission was given up to $5,000 for the player’s foundation or charity of his choice. An internal NFLPA committee narrowed the pool of applicants down to five finalists.
Hekker has dedicated his time and effort into a number of charitable organizations, starting with his commitment to help those with special needs during the offseason. The Rams All-Pro punter is also the Los Angeles representative for Waterboys, an organization founded by former teammate Chris Long that focuses on providing clean water for those around the world.
For the second time in three years, Jenkins is a finalist for the Whizzer White Award following a strong year of initiatives through the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, which was established in 2010. The Eagles Pro Bowl defensive back partnered with several educational programs to provide scholarships and other resources for students while collaborating with community outreach organizations to feed thousands of low-income families.
A Whizzer White Award finalist for the second straight year, Jennings worked through the Rashad Jennings Foundation to inspire youth by making reading fun, providing mentorship for individual success and promoting health and fitness worldwide. The Giants player rep serves over 30,000 students nationwide through his foundation.
In a year that also saw him win Week 8 NFLPA Community MVP and be elected as a union player representative for the Buccaneers, McDonald served as a frequent volunteer in his local community. In conjunction with his McDonald Association Collective Collaboration-Light Into Darkness (MACC-LID) foundation, the defensive lineman’s outreach includes reinforcing STEM education at local schools while feeding more than 2,000 people in his hometown of Central Arkansas for Thanksgiving.
Wilson’s charitable spirit surfaced through multiple avenues behind his Why Not You Foundation. Motivated by a mission to create real and lasting changes to turn today’s youth into tomorrow’s leaders, the Super Bowl champion quarterback has frequently visited and donated to the Seattle Children’s Hospital while helping raise money and awareness for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
For more information on the Byron “Whizzer” White Award, visit NFLPA.com/whizzerwhite.
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.
Tags Byron Whizzer