Several thousand people attended the annual NFL Players Gala last Thursday night at the Washington Hilton in D.C. The event is held each year to benefit the Special Olympics of the District of Columbia, with the master of ceremony being CBS Sports host James Brown. JB was joined on-stage by co-host Michael Wilbon from the Washington Post and ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption."
Each year, James personally selects the JB Award winners for their commitment to excellence off the field through building better communities and stronger families.
The Gala was kicked-off with speeches from Player's Inc Executive Director Gene Upshaw and Executive Director of the District of Columbia's Special Olympics chapter, Stephen A. Hocker. JB and Wilbon took turns interviewing those receiving special recognition for their accomplishments.
The following people won JB awards for their accomplishments:
The two then brought the finalist for the Byron "Whizzer" White Award on stage for a Q & A panel, discussing everything from their off the field accomplishments to their on the field competition. The night was topped off when John Lynch was awarded the NFLPA's highest accomplishment, the Byron "Whizzer" White Award. Lynch has played 14 seasons in the NFL and in 2000, started the John Lynch Foundation with his wife Linda to help develop quality young leaders through community programs. To date, he has helped raise over $2 million for the new Boys & Girls Club branch in San Diego.
NFLPA Byron "Whizzer" White Award Nominees: