A Canadian NFL player has received a prestigious honour from one of the largest sports publications in the world.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was announced as one of Sports Illustrated‘s 2020 Sportspersons of the Year on Sunday. The other recipients of the award were NBA star LeBron James, U.S. Open tennis champion Naomi Osaka, WNBA champion Breanna Stewart, and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.
The five individuals were recognized for being “activist athletes” — competitors who fought for social change away from the game. From the announcement:
The issues and challenges of 2020 will no doubt still be there in 2021 and beyond. But our Sportspersons of the Year set an example of how to face and one day fix them. With principle. With passion. And with an athlete’s optimism—the belief that no matter the obstacles, better days are ahead.
Duvernay-Tardif won Super Bowl LIV in February 2020 as the starting right guard for the Kansas City Chiefs. The ongoing health pandemic broke out soon after, which brought the practicing medical doctor to the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.
The native of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que. opted out of the 2020 NFL season back in July to dedicate his time to his patients. His lab coat is currently on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Duvernay-Tardif will have a feature released later this week authored by Sports Illustrated‘s Jenny Thompson. Past winners of the publication’s Sportsperson of the Year award include Serena Williams, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and Muhammad Ali.