Allen Park, Mich.— The Detroit Lions announced today FB Jason Cabinda as the team's nominee for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE. Considered one of the League's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Each of the league's 32 nominees were announced today.
LIONS FB JASON CABINDA
"Walter Payton's legacy embodies so many things. He was one of the greatest running backs on the field, and he truly looked out for people that didn't have a voice and gave them a voice. I think within my character, I hope to embody Walter Payton in the sense of wanting to look out for others and wanting to be somebody who gives back and be somebody who remembers their roots and where they came from. When you're in this position, you can have such an impact on these communities. You can have an impact knowing that the person that is standing in front of them is a person that has been in their shoes and has been sitting in their seats."
LIONS HEAD COACH DAN CAMPBELL
"Guys like Jason Cabinda can change the world. He is a man of principle who sets such a positive example for our entire locker room. Since the day I met him, he has embodied what it means to be a leader on and off the field. With our platform in today's NFL, it is our duty to help lift up the lives of others, and Jason carries this responsibility with dignity and honor. We are thrilled to nominate him as the Lions' representative for the 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award."
Since joining the Lions in 2019, Cabinda has been devoted to the youth and community in Detroit through his various efforts with Davison Elementary School. This August, he hosted a Back to School Book Drive where he gave out more than 800 books in addition to school supplies for students to take home. Cabinda also held virtual weekly reading comprehension sessions with Davison students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with the goal of eradicating childhood illiteracy. Incentivizing students to invest in their education, he established the "Jason Cabinda Attendance Award," given to students that maintain 100 percent attendance during the school year. His programming at Davison Elementary has garnered funding from the Ford Motor Co. Fund, Athletes for Charity and other donors.
When tragedy struck at a collapsing condominium in Surfside, Florida in June of 2021, Cabinda joined the efforts to assist the first responders and families impacted by the devastation. He coordinated a food drive in the area to feed those who searched the rubble and worked tirelessly to recover those who could be rescued in the structural collapse. Cabinda has also prioritized feeding homeless citizens in the communities he plays in, orchestrating multiple food distribution channels in both Detroit and Oakland when he played for the Raiders in 2018.
Around the holiday season, Cabinda has focused his charitable work on helping families in need of support through gift giving and surprises. In 2020, Cabinda partnered with players around the NFL to personally greet families in need with $1,000 each to buy gifts and food for the holidays. His generosity has extended throughout the years by providing Walmart shopping sprees for families in the Detroit area.
Cabinda also ensures he is at the forefront of player participation in the Lions' community team efforts. He is a constant presence at events held with Detroit Lions Academy (DLA), an alternative middle school located on the east side of Detroit that provides over-age students the opportunity to learn and achieve in a structured and safe environment. Additionally, he leads the way with the organization's Detroit Lions Inspire Change initiatives and is a voice for social justice among his teammates.
As a nominee, Cabinda will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field.
For the fourth year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LVI. The 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air the Thursday before Super Bowl LVI, on ABC.
All 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 7th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name or Twitter handle. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.