Make Someone’s Day Sports story – 2023 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
Walter “Sweetness” Payton was both a great NFL player and a great humanitarian. The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is presented annually by the NFL to honor a player’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, as well as his excellence on the field, awarded to Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott. Overcoming adversity and striving for excellence motivates Prescott on the field and in the community through his Faith Fight Finish foundation (FFF). Prescott strengthened his passion towards mental health and social justice after the loss of his brother Jace to suicide in 2020 . He expanded the original mission of his foundation, originally focused on cancer awareness, to also include suicide prevention and mental health, along with bridging the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve.. He pledged one million dollars to police training, education and advocacy.
Since that time, FFF created the Law Enforcement Steering Committee comprised of youth, community leaders and law enforcement personnel that addresses systemic racism through education and advocacy. In May 2022, FFF hosted The North Texas Townhall in collaboration with the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, where over 250 youth participated in a meaningful dialogue with law enforcement officers. FFF is also working to bring the CYCLE training program to communities across the country, delivering law enforcement officers a high-level curriculum specifically created to transform police interactions with community members, especially young men of color in underserved areas. At Prescott’s insistence, the police and community training were enhanced to include modules on mental health awareness and community service.
The quarterback said there was no doubt where this award ranks among the many honors he’s received in his career. “That’s easy — it’s number one,” Prescott told reporters later Thursday. “When your mom gets diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, she’s given months to live, she’s giving you that news, and she tells you, ‘Hey, all greats have a story. Allow me to be your story.’