ST. LOUIS – Nov. 1, 2022 – As a rookie running back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1997, Warrick Dunn took Coach Tony Dungy’s challenge to not just be a football player, but an active, entrenched member of the community to heart. Months later, Dunn started “Homes for the Holidays”, which to date has furnished more than 200 houses and provided approximately $1 million in down payment assistance for single-parent families in 27 different communities. That impact emboldened Dunn to expand his charitable endeavors. Through several programs under the Warrick Dunn Charities umbrella, struggling families are given a “hand-up” and empowered to break the cycle of generational poverty. All the while, Dunn became one of the most steady, effective running backs in NFL history, finishing in the top 20 all-time in rushing and all-purpose yards over a 12-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons.
With a far-reaching impact through his charitable efforts equaling his impressive football career, inspiring many with the way he carried himself through a family tragedy and throughout his career on and off the field, Warrick Dunn has earned the 2022 Stan Musial Award for Extraordinary Character. Dunn will join Albert Pujols as recipients of the two special honors bestowed at the event, on Nov. 19 at Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis. As recently announced, Pujols is being awarded the 2022 Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship.
The Musial Awards presented by Maryville University celebrate the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and those in sports who embody class and character. The national event is named for St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial, a beloved baseball superstar and civic icon who was the ultimate good sport. This year’s show will be packaged into a one-hour special that airs throughout the country on CBS on Dec. 24.
The Stan Musial Award for Extraordinary Character annually recognizes an individual who demonstrates remarkable class, perseverance, and overall sportsmanship. At the Musial Awards, Dunn will be honored alongside good sports from around North America who are being celebrated for their exemplary sportsmanship. Here are the other recipients of the 2022 Musial Awards:
Brittany Bowe: As a two-time Olympian, Brittany Bowe knows what it takes to reach the pinnacle competition in her sport of speed skating. So when Olympic medal favorite Erin Jackson slipped and finished third at the Olympic Trials, which would have left her off the Olympic team, Bowe, who finished first at the Trials, gave up her spot to Jackson saying that Jackson had already done more than enough to earn Olympic qualification. Proving Bowe’s point, Jackson went on to win the 500-meter race in Beijing, becoming the first Black woman to win an individual gold medal for Team USA in the Winter Games.
Isaiah Jarvis: Proving that competition doesn’t mean you lose compassion for the other team, Isaiah Jarvis’ actions after being accidentally struck in the head by a pitch from Kaiden Shelton in the Little League Southwest Region Championship set an example of humility and forgiveness that inspired people around the globe. After collecting himself after being struck by the pitch, Jarvis figured out that he was going to be okay and trotted toward first base only to see Shelton visibly upset on the mound. Jarvis immediately changed direction and walked toward Shelton, giving him a hug and saying “Hey, you’re doing just great.” This simple act showed the highest form of empathy and selflessness, which is worthy of the highest award for sportsmanship.
Syrianna Jones, Demeria Moore, Jorja Roberson, Cara Robertson, and Jasmyn Stamper: In the Mississippi Girls Class 1 High School Powerlifting Championships in April, a group of rivals came to the aid of a competitor to give her a chance to shine. Diamond Campbell, then a junior, attempted her first lift, thought it went well and would earn a green light as a good lift. Instead, it earned a red light, and a judge told her that her lift would be disqualified because of the beads in her hair. A rule preventing lifters from wearing certain types of headgear had been altered for 2021-22 to include bandanas, beads and hair clips. “I was a little angry,” Campbell said. But mixed with the anger was “shame, a little bit. I kind of felt humiliated, like I was being picked on in a way.” A teammate and coach came to Campbell’s aid, but news spread quickly to her competitors, including Syrianna Jones, Demeria Moore, Jorja Roberson, Cara Robertson, and Jasmyn Stamper, who all joined in furiously removing the beads so Campbell could make it to the stage for her next lift within the time limit. Their efforts were successful – which allowed Campbell to compete and be successful – ultimately finishing 4th in her weight class and setting a personal record.
Mike Lanzillotta: Taking the phrase “Pay It Forward” to heart, longtime Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta didn’t hesitate when a home run ball off the bat of New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge landed at his feet. He picked it up and handed it directly to 9-year-old Yankees fan Derek Rodriguez, whom Lanzillotta had struck up a conversation with earlier in the game and found out his favorite player is Judge. Rodriguez couldn’t believe it and cried tears of joy at his good fortune. The moment reminded baseball fans all over the world of the pure exuberance and idealism of being a fan.
Brett Phillips and Chloe Grimes: Proving that age is but a number, 28-year-old pro ballplayer Brett Phillips and 9-year-old Chloe Grimes have forged a friendship built on fun, perseverance, spirit, and yes…a love of baseball. They met in April 2022 when Grimes was honored at the Tampa Bay Rays game following a relapse of her cancer. A softball player herself, she threw out the first pitch to Phillips, her favorite player, and soon the two became nearly inseparable. Grimes ran up to Phillips and gave him a good luck wristband, which he wore during that game. In the third inning, Grimes was being interviewed on TV while Phillips stepped to the plate and hit a towering home run, which was retrieved by a Rays staff member, allowing Phillips to sign the ball and give it to Grimes. Grimes says Phillips gives her the strength and support to beat cancer. Phillips says Grimes has done more for him. Glancing at the good luck wristband Grimes gave him, Phillips said, “Every day I wake up and look down at this and regardless of what I’m going through, you have a girl that’s 9 years old, battling cancer for the second time. She shows up every day with love and energy. There’s no reason why I can’t continue playing baseball and go through my struggles with a smile on my face.”
Nadia Popovici: The old adage “if you see something, say something” rarely applies to sports. And even though an NHL game between the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks was only a backdrop for Nadia Popovici to notice something that saved a stranger’s life, had the hockey game not occurred she likely would have never seen it. Seated behind the Vancouver bench, what Popovici noticed was an irregular mole on the back of the neck of Canucks assistant equipment manager Brian Hamilton. As a pre-med student, Popovici suspected the mole to be cancerous, but was hesitant to say anything. Deciding she couldn’t let the opportunity pass, Popovici typed a message on her phone and got Hamilton’s attention long enough for him to read the note. Hamilton later saw a doctor who confirmed the mole looked concerning and had it removed. Weeks later, it was diagnosed as a malignant melanoma, which may have never been caught if Popovici wasn’t sitting behind the Canucks bench that day, and if she didn’t have the courage to speak up.
Albert Pujols: Albert Pujols’ on-field accomplishments speak for themselves – just like Stan Musial’s. But also like Musial, Pujols is remembered as much for his off-field benevolence as his statistical magnificence. Both men valued treating people with kindness and respect. Both were revered as great teammates. Both men played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, so it is fitting that in 2022, Pujols is honored with an award named for Stan The Man standing for civility, humanity, and using the power of sports and celebrity for good. Establishing the Pujols Family Foundation in 2005, Pujols has consistently sought to help those living with Down Syndrome and improve the lives of the impoverished in his native Dominican Republic.
MUSIAL AWARDS TICKETS:
Tickets for the 2022 Musial Awards, ranging from $10 to $35, are on sale through Ticketmaster. More information and a link to purchase tickets is available at MusialAwards.com/tickets. Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of special group pricing by calling 314-345-5113.
Additionally, all-inclusive packages and sponsorships are available and can be purchased at MusialAwards.com/tickets or by calling 314-345-5111.
Show time for the 2022 Musial Awards is 6:15 p.m.
MORE ON THE MUSIALS:
The Musial Awards presented by Maryville University is produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization. In addition to keeping Stan The Man’s legacy alive, the mission of the Musial Awards is to encourage kindness, selflessness, integrity and civility in sports and society – and to inspire people across the nation to be good sports. The event has occurred in St. Louis since 2005. Maryville University has served as the presenting sponsor since 2011. The school’s involvement, leadership and generosity have helped make the Musial Awards the most inspiring night in sports®.