Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft
This Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is such a special award. One of the privileges of buying the team is getting exposed to so many great young men. But, Devin we drafted in 2010 and I don't know of anyone else who was elected a captain in his second year and consistent right through. But, he was so mature, so classy, so good. His mom did an outstanding job. He is awesome on the field, but what he does outside of here that's so important to our family, no one exceeds that. That's why we were happy to award him the Ron Burton Community Award. But, what he and his brother have done in sickle cell anemia and also in social justice, how he helped influence legislation to change the law from young people in this state not being able to be incarcerated - it used to be seven, now it's 12. But, he helped and was a major force in making that happen, working with the Players Coalition on many issue throughout the league. So, it's really a great honor to be able to present Devin with this.
Patriots Defensive Back Devin McCourty
Q: You've always been into sickle cell causes, but what have you enjoyed or appreciated the most in the last year of getting more involved in the social justice aspect?
DM: I would say just being able to serve people. The reason I got into sickle cell was my aunt has the disease, my uncle has the disease, and then the more I looked into it, a lot of minorities have the disease and it just doesn't get covered. No one really talks about it, and I felt it was the same thing with the different social injustice issues and topics that I kind of dove into. It was people that often in our country are not cared about really and no one gives it a second look. It's kind of just overlooked. It was issues that I felt with my platform I could jump in and try to highlight and spotlight different people's stories and let people see them. I think because of that, we've been able to see stories for a lot of people that would have never looked at them, host events or do different things where information has come out and people are kind of blown away. I think sometimes we get the notion that people don't care, but sometimes it's just they don't know. So, spotlighting that and bringing that to the light I think has been an awesome experience.
Q: You've championed these issues because you've wanted to, not because you wanted to get nominated or anything like that. Now that you've been nominated, can you use that platform a little bit more to get the word out on things that have been done?
DM: Yeah, I think that's the best part of being nominated and receiving awards is whatever you care about that you have given time to, have served different people, you get to spotlight and highlight that. I think the more you can kind of decrease yourself and kind of increase other people's stories and give them the light, I think that's what it's all about. Whether it's community service or giving back to the community in different ways or helping people, it's not about yourself. It's about showing their stories and getting them the well-deserved credit that they deserve.
Q: Do you think Jason McCourty will give you any credit for the nomination? Have you talked to him about it?
DM: I don't think of it as myself. I think you guys know, everything I've done, even when he was on another team, was always the McCourty twins. So because of rules, they couldn't put both of our names on there, but without a doubt, every bit of this should be Devin and Jason McCourty. But, at the end of the day, he really doesn't care if his name's on it or not, and I think that's where we're probably the most similar. I'm better than him at football, but I would say off the field, we're very similar.
Q: Do you follow the stories at all of some of the other guys that have been nominated and what does it mean to you to be included in that group?
DM: Yeah, it's pretty cool. I think throughout the league, you're in the league for a while, you get to see some of the things that other guys do, whether it's a weekly basis or through the years, different foundations and causes guys give to. So yeah, it's great to kind of be included with those guys. I think when you look at the NFL, I think people try to highlight the negative things. So, I think anything that brings a positive light to our game and to the men that go out here and sacrifice and put their bodies on the line and still use their free time to give back and help other people out, I think that's what it's about. I think we all got to see - I guess it's kind of further removed but all of us kind of know stories about Walter Payton and what he meant to not just his teammates but to the communities and obviously his family for his legacy to continue on. So, to be mentioned with his name and everything he's done is a great honor.
Q: Is it refreshing in a week with some negative headlines to see 32 guys honored through the league?
DM: Yeah, I think it's awesome. I think it's like, we wake up every day and we see positive stories, we see negative stories in our society, and I think the NFL is no different really. I think bad things will happen, but it's a part of life. I think we always have to try to highlight the good things and hope that we're leading by example and that when people see us, they can see - you know, I think for myself, they can see God working in my life to try to do good things. I hope when people see that, they want to learn more about Him and try to grow as people. I'm very fortunate that I get to be surrounded in the locker room with a bunch of great guys that inspire me. We push each other to do better things, we push each other to come out here on our off-day, to do great things in the community. I think I'm just fortunate and blessed to be a part of that.
Q: Do you have a current or a next project you want to work on?
DM: Things are always moving. We have some things, but I think it's easier not to talk about them but to just keep working behind the scenes and let things kind of materialize that way.