Canadian lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif named finalist for ESPN’s Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award

Photo courtesy: Jim Berry/Kansas City Chiefs

ESPN has announced the finalists for their seventh annual Sports Humanitarian Awards and a Canadian hero is among the names being honoured.

Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is one of four finalists for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award presented by Dove Men+Care.  The honour is given “to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports. The candidate must embrace the core principles that Muhammad Ali embodied so well, including confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and respect.” Each finalist receives $25,000 for a charitable cause of their choosing, while the winner receives a $100,000 donation.

Nominated along with Duvernay-Tardif are first baseman Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs, Layshia Clarendon of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, and WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil.

Duvernay-Tardif won Super Bowl LIV in February 2020 as Kansas City’s starting right guard. The ongoing 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 team reached the Super Bowl again in his absence, falling to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Duvernay-Tardif has been recognized several times this year for his tremendous work and personal sacrifice. He was a co-recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete and his lab coat is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In addition to work as an orderly in a long-term care facility in Quebec, Duvernay-Tardif served on the NFLPA’s COVID-19 task force in order to ensure a safe return to play for his fellow players and launched the Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Foundation with his longtime girlfriend, Florence, to ensure both physical activity and creativity are a part of a child’s development and educational success.

According to the nomination announcement, Duvernay-Tardif’s “conviction to combat a virus the world knew very little about at the onset of the pandemic risked his own personal health and football career.”

The winner of the award will be announced at The 2021 ESPYS on Saturday, July 10. All finalists will be individually honoured at the Sports Humanitarian Awards on Monday, July 12 at The Rooftop at Pier 17, located within the Seaport in New York City, with a 90-minute television special airing on Saturday, July 24 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.