By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63
Since 1970, the Man of the Year award was given to players who went over and beyond in outstanding community service on and off the field, and still perform with extreme excellence on the field. It was renamed after the Chicago Bears greatest running back of all-time in 1999.
Alongside Payton, who won his award in 1977, is Dave Duerson (1987), Mike Singletary (1990), Jim Flanigan (2000), and Charles Tillman (2013). Former Bears Julius Peppers (Panthers) and Robbie Gould (49ers) are also finalists for their prospective causes.
This year, the Chicago Bears have chosen tight end Trey Burton as their nominee.
I want to address the work that Burton has been pouring his heart and soul into, and that is the International Justice Mission. This organization aims at eliminating slave trade.
Slavery is a multi-billion dollar industry. This surreal industry includes land theft that in order to keep their home, they are forced to do hard labor to keep it. Sex trafficking, police abuse of power, citizenship rights abuse, sexual violence against children, and forced labor slavery is alive and thriving right under our noses, while we sleep comfortably in our beds.
This may seem uncomfortable to read, but the fact of the matter is children are being forced into cyber-sex activities starting at the age of 5 years old. How horrific is that?
IJM is an organized group of advocates, donors, investigators, social workers, lawyers and government leaders who are executing a plan that has resulted in slowing down the slave industry and practically stopping them in their tracks. They do this by disrupting their activities and prosecuting those who are running them, enabling the freedom of those who have been trapped in sexual bondage for years.
In an article on Sports Spectrum, Trey expressed why he is so passionate about this cause:
“ I’m 100 percent certain that sex trafficking is an issue God hates; He tells us in His Word that He wants us to care for the orphan, the widow and those in distress (James 1:27). What’s happening around the world is unspeakable. There are more than 40 million people in slavery around the world today, more than any other time in history. No one should ever have to endure these things.”
Trey and pledged this season to donate $1,000 per catch and $2,500 per touchdown to IJM. So far he has raised over $50,000. He has also chosen to support IJM for as his My Cause, My Cleats campaign. He is one of five players on the Bears social justice committee.
What a great man, and a great cause.
#WPMOTY #DaBears #OTFB
Talk Bears football with Wanda on Twitter // @WandaW63