Every season the NFL names one worthy player their Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award winner, and for 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David is a finalist for the honor.
Every team nominates a player for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship award each year who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship.— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) December 15, 2020
Well, the NFL announced the eight finalists today and good guy Lavonte David is one of them.
According to an NFL.com posting,
“The Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is given to the player “who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition,” per the league.”
In Buccaneers circles, David has long been considered one of the more underrated players in the league. Before the 2020 season began David landed on the NFL Top-100 list which is compiled using votes and input from the players in the league themselves. Most recently, the weakside turned inside linebacker was among the top vote-getters for an NFC Pro Bowl selection.
Now, he’s being recognized as one of the top players in the league for playing the game well and playing it the right way.
Former Buccaneers running back Warrick Dunn is part of the panel who selects the finalists, and in the same NFL post, is quoted as saying,
“You try to think about the man who is representing the organization, their teammates and also what they are doing on the football field – the impact they are having,” former NFL running back Warrick Dunn, one of four panelists who selected the finalists, said in a statement. ”You want guys who display leadership, who go above and beyond, who think about their teammates before they think about themselves. It is always hard to narrow down the list of individuals for this award.”
David is joined by fellow finalists Calais Campbell (Baltimore Ravens), Cameron Heyward (Pittsburgh Steelers), Justin Houston (Indianapolis Colts), Matthew Slater (New England Patriots), Teddy Bridgewater (Carolina Panthers), Jason Kelce (Philadelphia Eagles), and Kyle Juszczyk (San Francisco 49ers).
The winner of the award receives a $25,000 donation to the charity of their choice. Judging from David’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay focus during the NFL’s ‘My Cause My Cleats’ campaign, I imagine the money would go towards helping the foundation in their mission “to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.”
The annual award honors the memory of late Pittsburgh Steelers founding owner, Art Rooney Sr. and was created in 2014.