Patriots receiver Matthew Slater was selected as the winner of the 2021 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, presented to a player for his outstanding sportsmanship on the field. The award was created in 2014 and named after Art Rooney Sr., the Steelers' founder.
"Art Rooney is an iconic figure in NFL history," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the time the award was introduced. "It is appropriate that we honor his legacy in this way and recognize NFL players for one of the important values that Mr. Rooney represented so well."
Each team nominated one player, and eight finalists were selected by members of the NFL Legends Community. The final vote was part of the 2020 Pro Bowl ballot voted on by players league-wide.
Slater was announced as the winner as a part of the NFL Honors awards show in Los Angeles. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to the charity of his choice. The award represents the role that sportsmanship plays in the game and that those who demonstrate integrity and honor on the field are role models for other players.
"It is gratifying that sportsmanship is the category," said Steelers President Art Rooney II when the award was first announced. "It's appropriate. I like to think of my grandfather as someone who truly was a good sport, somebody who cared about the respect and the integrity of the game. The fact it's being voted on by the players, well, the recipient can feel good about it because it's voted on by his peers."
Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award Winners:
2021: Matthew Slater
2020: Teddy Bridgewater
2019: Adrian Peterson
2018: Drew Brees
2017: Luke Kuechly
2016: Frank Gore
2015: Charles Woodson
2014: Larry Fitzgerald