In the NFL, there are numerous annual team and individual awards given out each season.
The Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is now in its ninth year given out to the player who shows the greatest sportsmanship on the field. One player from each club is nominated. The winner will be revealed as part of “NFL Honors” before Super Bowl LVII and receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.
For the Browns, this year’s nominee is RB Nick Chubb.
The award was created in 2014 to honor the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers Art Rooney, Sr. Rooney’s Pittsburgh franchise began in 1933 as the Pirates as the owner has been instrumental in many changes involved with the league up until his death in 1988. He was often a mediator in owner’s meetings and was considered to be fair and unbiased. Rooney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964.
The recipient of this award is determined by the players.
A group of former NFL athletes from the NFL Legends Community has the job of pairing down the list of 32 players to just eight. These Legends, Larry Fitzgerald, Curtin Martin, Leonard Wheeler, and Warrick Dunn, will decide which four nominees from each conference will be placed on the Pro Bowl ballot for current players to vote on in December. Fitzgerald won the award in its maiden inception in 2014.
From the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s EVP of Football Operations, issued this statement:
“These Rooney Sportsmanship Award nominees exemplify the fiercest competition combined with the excellence of sportsmanship. It reflects the very values of respect, resilience, and fairness that inspire both teammates and opponents to be the best in the world.”
Four offensive players have won the award along with two defensive players and one special teamer.
The purpose of an award such as this is to promote good sportsmanship in a violent world that is called professional football. Qualities of on-field sportsmanship, fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition, are essential in growing the game.
Players nominated in the AFC North include DT B.J. Hill - Cincinnati, LB Alex Highsmith - Pittsburgh, and DT Calais Campbell - Baltimore.