Media Contact

Brandon Parker, Senior Communications Manager



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Will Gholston has been named the Week 13 NFLPA Community MVP after donating almost $60,000 so that 920 Tampa Bay families in need could receive a full meal for Thanksgiving.

“It’s an honor to be named the NFLPA’s Community MVP for Week 13,” the Tampa Bay defensive end said. “My family and I always try our best to give our time or resources to the community, providing others with a smile and a light of hope.”

Since being drafted by the Buccaneers in 2013, Gholston has made an annual tradition of donating Thanksgiving meals to families in his hometown of Detroit and team city. Doing so is important to the nine-year veteran after he experienced food insecurity as a child while growing up in the Motor City.

This fall, in a nod to his jersey number 92, Gholston made sure that 920 Tampa Bay families did not have to struggle through the same experience during the holiday. In partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay, four distribution sites were set up across a three-day period, with each family receiving a whole roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and rolls. The largest distribution took place at Hillsborough Community College near the Buccaneers training facility, where almost 350 cars came through for a meal.

“One of the best feelings to experience is the love that can be shared from giving back,” Gholston said. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”

The former Michigan State standout is a big believer in paying it forward, which he has done through several avenues during his NFL career. Earlier this year, Gholston donated $225,000 to the Moffitt Cancer Center to support research for cancers that disproportionately affect the Black community. As someone who lost his father and uncle to cancer, and who has mother who survived breast cancer, this cause hits home for Gholston.

He also formed “Gholston’s Crusaders,” a community ticket program that sponsors non-profit organizations to attend all Buccaneers home games for the past seven seasons. Each guest receives a game ticket, meal voucher and custom gear. Gholston also serves as mentor in the Buccaneers Youth Leadership Program, regularly participating in virtual mentorship sessions with middle school students.

This month, Gholston will once again lead and helped fund the team’s annual D-Line Delivers Christmas event, which surprises families in need with a variety of gifts for the holidays.

In honor of Gholston being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his charity or foundation of choice. Our supporting partner, Aldine Sports Association, will create customized T-shirts and hoodies featuring his unique Community MVP superhero illustration made by HEARTLENT Group. The apparel will be sold on ASA’s website during the season, with a portion of all proceeds going to Gholston’s foundation or charity of choice.

Gholston, along with the other 2021 Community MVPs, will 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.

2021 NFLPA Community MVP winners:
Week 1: Justin Reid, Houston Texans
Week 2: Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Week 3: Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills|
Week 4: Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers
Week 5: Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Week 6: Von Miller, Denver Broncos
Week 7: Brett Hundley, Indianapolis Colts
Week 8: Chris Harris Jr., Los Angeles Chargers
Week 9: Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals
Week 10: James Smith-Williams, Washington Football Team
Week 11: Lawrence Guy, New England Patriots
Week 12: Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts


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.