Towards the halfway point in each season, the NFL mandates that each team nominate a player towards the 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. The award recognizes players who exemplify phenomenal sportsmanship on the field and for the 2016 season the Oakland Raiders have nominated quarterback Derek Carr.
The voting was finalized on Tuesday, with 32 recipients to choose from. The nominations come via the organization’s public/media relations department.
A current vote of NFL players will decide the ultimate winner, while a panel of former players will decide who gets voted into the top eight (four AFC and four NFC). The former players consist of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
The award was created in 2014 after the late owner of the Pittsburg Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Art Rooney, Sr.
Carr has encompassed the leader role for this organization, as the Raiders have responded well to him. In a recent interview, lineman Donald Penn stated that Carr does not curse during huddles, which shows the kind of respect he has for his teammates and the NFL.
The current players will vote for the award when deciding the Pro Bowl ballet, done on Friday, Dec. 16. By that time, the nominees will be reduced to eight. It should be noted that players cannot vote for someone who is currently on their team.
Each season, the award is presented to the NFL player that demonstrates proper on-field courtesies, fair play, sportsmanship and a respect and integrity for the game.
During the 2014 inaugural season of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was gifted the award. For the 2015 season, Raiders legend Charles Woodson was given the award, capping off a brilliant farewell season to his career.
The NFL Honors Show will broadcast the winner on Saturday, Feb. 4 on Fox, which is the night before Super Bowl LI. The winner receives a $25,000 donation to the charity of their choice from the NFL Foundation and a trophy.