Arik Armstead - 49ers - 2020 Man of the year nominee

Arik Armstead - MOTY Nominee - 49ers - Profile Hero

Arik Armstead

DEFENSIVE LINE

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Demonstrates Excellence on The Field

The 49ers originally selected Arik Armstead (6-7, 290) in the first round (17th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Throughout his six-year career (2015-20), Armstead has appeared in 68 games (49 starts) and registered 174 tackles, 20.5 sacks, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. In 2019, Armstead registered single-season career highs in tackles (54), sacks (10.0), passes defensed (two), forced fumbles (two) and fumble recoveries (one). His 10 sacks led the team and ranked tied for 15th in the NFL last season. He also started all three postseason contests and added eight tackles, 2 sacks and one forced fumble. He signed a five-year contract extension with the team on March 16, 2020.

Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts this Year

Education inequality and the public-school system. Funding for school districts of color. Literacy rates. Racism and implicit bias. Homogenous corporate leadership. Voting. These are major societal issues and just some of the topics that Arik Armstead has addressed before every one of his media availability sessions throughout the 2020 season. His goal? To raise awareness, educate, encourage dialogue and enact change. Education equity and access have always been at the forefront of Arik's community efforts and when the pandemic created further disparities and increased the digital divide, he tackled them head on. Arik donated $50,000 and personally delivered 350 Chromebooks, one-year of pre-paid internet service and education kits to multi-student families through Sacramento's Mercy Housing which provides low-income housing. 

Arik's answer to the disruption of virtual learning was to launch Storytime with Arik Armstead to motivate students to read and increase literacy rates. Since May, he has impacted over 415 youth from first to fourth grade, visited 20 virtual classrooms in more than 15 school districts from his hometown of Sacramento to Doha, Qatar, and covered topics including equality, black history and sustainability. Understanding that education and social justice work hand-in-hand, Arik continues to shed light on important issues in our country. As part of the 49ers Players Social Justice Council, Arik helped launch Subject to Change, a video content series featuring roundtable discussions moderated by NFL Networks' Steve Wyche. In addition to joining the series' discussion on Race and Police Brutality, he also participated in a discussion with Senator Cory Booker on the importance of civic engagement and voting, recorded PSAs encouraging fans to fill out the Census and narrated the story of Stephon Clark's murder through the NFL's "Say Their Stories" feature. He's also turned words into action, guiding the 49ers Players Social Justice Council's process of allocating grants following the team's $1 million commitment in the aftermath of the tragic murder of George Floyd and marched alongside his wife, a doctor, in a White Coats for Black Lives protest. In August, Arik took action to the workplace and joined hiring platform, Humanly, as an advisor to increase diversity and inclusion and remove hiring bias. 

While 2020 has been an unprecedented year, it did not detract Arik from his calling to serve. He adapted. In response to COVID-19, Arik launched the #EAT91SIX campaign, encouraging fans to support small businesses in Sacramento. He then donated 200 appreciation meals to UC Davis healthcare workers and joined Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg for a conversation about the effects of COVID-19 while promoting mental health resources and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault awareness. Arik solidified his place as a leader both on and off the field demonstrated by his selection as a 2020 Team Captain and most recently, voted as the 49ers 2020 Perry/Yonamine Unity Award winner by his teammates for his commitment to promoting unity and giving back to the community.

Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past

From the day he was drafted in 2015, Arik was determined to leverage his platform to make a positive impact. As a rookie, he coached football players with down syndrome, led 49ers PREP campers through skills and drills, and mentored high school football players at a seminar intended to build character. Since then, he has grown into a defensive force on the field and a positive force in the community. He consistently ranks in the top ten players of hours spent volunteering each season at 49ers Community Tuesday and Foundation events on top of his personal community efforts.

After four years of unwavering community commitment, Arik launched the Armstead Academic Project in 2019 to grow his impact after recognizing the deep gaps in education equality. "I've always done things in the community and tried to figure out ways to give back to my community and our education system was a glaring issue to me that I feel if it can be addressed, will go an extremely long way. No matter where a student lives or what neighborhood they grow up in, they deserve a chance to be successful in life and have a great education," Armstead declared. In just two years, the Armstead Academic Project has raised over $200,000 to support community programs, including nearly $30,000 through his Tackle for Students program last season as he pledged money for each tackle and sack he made. 

Arik has consistently utilized his platform to raise awareness for causes. He's hosted numerous school assemblies and story times in local libraries since 2015 and kicked off the 7th Annual Boys and Men of Color Summit in 2017, speaking to 300 male students engaged in creating systemic change. In 2019, he hosted 20 students from the Mercy House in Sacramento for a tour of Levi's® Stadium and lunch followed by a career panel of 49ers employees of color. Later that same year, Arik participated in a STEAM education project alongside Oakland youth and Bay Area police officers to foster police and community relations. He also joined fifteen high achieving young women of color from Brown Girls Dream for a panel discussion alongside Cari Champion. Arik challenges all of us to "think about how we are equipping our students to be successful in life and also think about the students that we're leaving behind and that we're not preparing to have a successful life. If we address education inequality that would be a big step to addressing a lot of other inequality in our country".

Demonstrates Consistency in Positive Character and Models a Lifestyle of Giving Back

When Arik was drafted by the 49ers in 2015, it was a dream come true to play for his hometown team. Arik was born in Sacramento and has made it his life's work to give back to the community that raised him. He works tirelessly to be a positive role model for Sacramento youth and hosts annual programs, becoming known as the "big guy with the big heart." Each year, he returns to his hometown to host free football camps for underserved youth. More than 1,000 students have participated over the last four years. In the last two years, Arik has turned the camp into a weekend long celebration, kicking things off with the annual 91SIX Gala to fundraise for the community. In 2018 alongside his wife Mindy, he added a free Health Clinic. In total, they served over 400 Sacramento residents with general wellness checks, behavioral health services, dental and vision exams, nutrition education and more. Arik has a soft spot for pediatric patients and has made it a priority to visit UC Davis Hospital during the holidays. Since 2016, he's donated a total of $20,000 in toys for the hospitalized children and ensures that every child gets a toy. If a patient isn't able to leave their room, he makes individual visits to spread holiday cheer. The San Francisco 49ers are proud to nominate Arik Armstead as their Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee.

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