MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. –
The Miami Dolphins today announced linebacker Jerome Baker as its
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.
Baker is a regular presence in the South Florida community, utilizing
his platform as a Miami Dolphins player to make Miami and the
surrounding area a better place. One of the first recurring events he
established after he was drafted by the Dolphins in 2018 was a
Christmas event for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. Born on
Christmas Day himself, he hosts the event for children as a birthday
gift and even made sure the event could be held virtually in 2020 due
to the pandemic.
Baker also steps in during times of need. When a residential building
collapsed in the nearby town of Surfside in June 2021, he partnered
with a minority-owned small business food truck to provide meals to
first responders aiding in the recovery efforts. After an earthquake
hit Haiti in August 2021, Baker partnered with Miami Dolphins Football
UNITES community partner City of North Miami to transport donation
items to Haiti and supported a call for action for the public to
deliver goods needed by the country.
His efforts aren’t limited to just South Florida either. When he was
drafted in 2018, Baker established the Expand the Land Foundation to
inspire youth and provide mentorship and programming in his hometown
Since then, he’s hosted multiple events to benefit students in both
the Cleveland and Miami communities. Baker has partnered with Miami
Dolphins Football UNITES community partners, working with
organizations like Feeding South Florida to assist with meal packing,
5000 Role Models youth mentorship programming and police ride-alongs.
In 2020, Baker wanted to find a way to give back to the Cleveland
community, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit home. He hosted a
socially-distanced backpack giveaway at his high school alma mater,
Benedictine, for kids in grades 2-8 to motivate kids in school.
As a nominee, Baker 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
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.