National Football League player JJ Watt was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award, an honor he shared with Major League Baseball player Jose Altuve.
Both played for Houston sports franchises, but while Altuve was honored for what he did on the field in leading the Astros to a World Series championship, Watt was honored for what he did off the field.
Watt injured his left leg this year and had surgery that ended his 2017 season. But he raised more than $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Contrast the work of Watt to that of Colin Kaepernick, who has been named one of 10 finalists for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Earlier this year, GQ Magazine created a Citizen of the Year award and gave it to Kaepernick.
In November, Watt sent a thank-you note to the Houston police and fire departments and also bought them Papa John’s pizza in appreciation for the work they do.
Kaepernick, on the other hand, started the anti-police protests by kneeling for the national anthem and wore socks depicting pigs as police. Kaepernick also compared police to the 19th century slave patrols who hunted down escaped slaves.
Watt’s fundraising for the victims of Hurricane Harvey attracted 209,314 donors, according to Sports Illustrated .
“Humbled & Honored,” Watt posted Dec. 5 on Facebook. “Houston, this is for you and this is for the hundreds of thousands of people who donated from all over the world.”
“Finally a magazine that got it right,” said a Helen James Hedrick on Watt’s Facebook page. “Congrats to both of you for being excellent role models and wonderful men.”
“Recognized for DOING GOOD, bringing people together, using your platforms to make a difference in lives,” said a Duong Sheahan on Watt’s Facebook page. “That a real hero!”