Geno Atkins is the Bengals' nominee for the 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. Considered the league's most prestigious honor, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.
"As an NFL player I understand the importance of using my platform to positively impact the lives of others," said Atkins. "It has been an honor to be able to give back to others, and some of the most meaningful moments of my career have been moments spent in the community."
Atkins is a man of few words and strives to stay out of the spotlight. He does his community work for the benefit of the community and not to seek added attention for himself. Through his Atkins Week of Giving initiative and other community endeavors, he has quietly yet consistently shared with his fans and followers that there are ways that everyone can make a difference in their communities – that you don't need to be an NFL player to inspire individuals and change the world we live in.
Atkins and his wife Kristen stretched this year's efforts for the Atkins Week of Giving across eight days during Thanksgiving week, with an emphasis on those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, Atkins donated $100,000 to Freestore Foodbank, which in turn provided 300,000 meals to families in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana during the pandemic's onset. He also serves as an ambassador for the American Diabetes Association.
As a nominee, Atkins 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 third 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 LV. The 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air the week of Super Bowl LV, on CBS.
All 32 nominees will receive 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 their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 6th 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. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 10 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their 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. New this year, fans can win NFL Shop gift cards and additional money for their favorite nominee's charity. Each Monday during the #WPMOYChallenge, Nationwide will ask fans to respond on Twitter with their favorite nominee and one randomly selected fan each week will win a $100 NFL Shop gift card and $2,500 for their favorite nominee's charity.
More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award can be found at http://www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.