Carolina's Johnny Hekker Named Week 14 NFLPA Community MVP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Johnny Hekker has been named the Week 14 NFLPA Community MVP after he hosted two days of special events for 60 kids in the Charlotte area.
“While my family and I are honored to receive this recognition, we can't help but be reminded of those that have poured time and resources into our lives as we grew up,” the Carolina Panthers punter said.
Thanks to Hekker, the holidays came early for dozens of students in the Charlotte community. On December 5, the Super Bowl champion kicked off his "giveback initiative" by hosting a shopping spree for 30 kids from the Matthews Police Activities League youth program. Each child received a gift card to pick out sports gear from Academy Sports+Outdoors before ending the day with dinner provided by Hekker.
The next day, he partnered with the Special Olympics of North Carolina to treat 30 kids to a day of fun at SpareTime Entertainment. There, they were able to bowl, play arcade games and eat pizza with the All-Pro punter. The event served as Hekker’s latest effort to raise awareness for the Special Olympics, who have been showcased on his footwear of choice for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign in recent years.
“I can't thank the organizations we have been able to partner with enough,” Hekker said. “Their impact on the community is far-reaching beyond the few events we have been able to host.”
Since entering the NFL in 2012, Hekker has made a name for himself on and off the football field by paying it forward. In 2017, he organized multiple grassroots efforts to help the victims of the Los Angeles wildfires, which earned him NFLPA Community MVP honors. He also partnered with the United Way of Los Angeles to help design T-shirts, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward relief efforts.
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Hekker helped with relief efforts in his home state of Washington by donating to Washington Kids in Transition and FareStart foundations. In turn, basic needs were provided to homeless children as well as those struggling to find employment due to poverty or because they were formerly incarcerated.
The Oregon State alum was also active during last year’s holiday season, surprising families from the Upward Bound House shelter with gifts and meals for the children and families who are transitioning out of homelessness.
“My hope is that someone reading this will be inspired to give of themself in the near future,” Hekker said. “Find a local cause you are passionate about and give what you can, whether it be monetary, giving of your time or simply helping promote their causes by word of mouth.”
In honor of Hekker being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his charity or foundation of choice. Hekker will also take part in a virtual or in-person visit to a school or children’s hospital. Along with the other 2022 Community MVPs, he will also become eligible for this year’s Alan Page Community Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.
The Community MVP campaign is part of the NFLPA’s continued efforts to support the year-round, civic outreach and engagement of its player members. Please visit the NFLPA Community MVP website to learn more about the program.
2022 NFLPA Community MVP winners:
Week 1: Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
Week 2: Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders
Week 3: Cody Davis, New England Patriots
Week 4: Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders
Week 5: John Metchie III, Houston Texans
Week 6: Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos
Week 7: Jason Cabinda, Detroit Lions
Week 8: Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins
Week 9: Dalvin Tomlinson, Minnesota Vikings
Week 10: Kelvin Beachum, Arizona Cardinals
Week 11: Orlando Brown Jr., Kansas City Chiefs
Week 12: Jonathan Jones, New England Patriots
Week 13: Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 14: Johnny Hekker, Carolina Panthers
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through the 2030 season. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.