Las Vegas’s Darren Waller Named Week 4 NFLPA Community MVP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Darren Waller has been named the Week 4 NFLPA Community MVP for using his testimony as a recovering addict to inspire others – this time before an audience of nearly 400 service men and women at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
“I am thankful for my selection as the NFLPA Week 4 Community MVP,” Waller said. “So many players in the league impact their communities and deserve to be recognized for their service.”
For the fourth installment of his “Wall Talk” outreach program, Waller shared his personal experience with substance abuse as a young adult and how he overcame his addiction to become the person that he is today. This past Tuesday’s TED Talk-style presentation focused on the principle of S.H.I.N.E. – Self-control, Hope, Integrity, say No and Encouragement – when it comes to substance abuse prevention. Afterward, Waller held a Q&A session followed by a meet-and-greet, where he took pictures with each service member, distributed wristbands and signed photos.
“I am committed to using my platform and personal experience as a recovering addict to serve those struggling with addiction,” said Waller, whose journey was recently highlighted on “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” on HBO. “If one person hears my story and it positively influences their choices, that’s reason enough for me to keep sharing.”
After celebrating five years of being sober in August, the Las Vegas Raiders tight end took several opportunities to share his experience this month. On September 2, Waller spent several hours meeting with two past recipients of his Against the Wall grant as they continue their recovery at the Naples Sober Living Apartments in Las Vegas. Through the Darren Waller Foundation, he has provided approximately $684,000 of in-patient and intensive outpatient care as well as aftercare to 38 individuals suffering from addiction – eight of whom are currently in treatment.
The next day, the eighth-year veteran packed and distributed clothing, towels, food and bags to residents of the tunnels under Las Vegas – most of whom are experiencing homelessness and battling addiction. While distributing items, Waller took time to connect with them and give hope that recovery is still possible. One 10-year resident of the tunnels agreed to enter treatment at Shine-a-Light Freedom House Sober Living as a result.
Finally, this past Monday, Waller held his third annual “Beyond The Wall” fundraiser for his foundation, which was launched in 2020. The event generated more than $600,000, which will be used to provide youth with the tools and recovery services necessary to avoid and overcome addiction.
In honor of Waller being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his charity or foundation of choice. Waller 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
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.