In the midst of all the draft talk and speculation, I think it’s important that we not overlook Nnamdi Asomugha’s recent accomplishment. Asomugha was awarded the 2009 Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year award for his continuing fight against Children’s illiteracy, Breast Cancer, and AIDS. In addition, Asomugha has ongoing efforts in mentoring Oakland’s youth and he serves as Chairman for the Orphans and Widows In Need (OWIN) Foundation. Through OWIN, Asomugha and his family provide food, shelter, medicine, vocational training, literacy efforts, and scholarships to widows and orphans victimized by poverty or abuse in his native country Nigeria.
His help to the Oakland Community has been vital for high school students looking to better themselves. In 2006, Asomugha launched the annual Asomugha College Tour for Scholars (ACTS) program. Each year, he teams up with selected students from Bay Area high schools on college tours across the country. All of the tour participants who have graduated from high school have gone on to attend higher education institutions. In 2010, ACTS will expand to not only service high school students in the Bay Area but also select high schools in the Los Angeles area. For the 2010 tour, ACTS will visit schools in Washington D.C.
Asomugha joined former President Bill Clinton at the 2009 Meeting of Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) hosted by The University of Texas Austin to discuss the importance of global service and student activism. CGI U is President Clinton’s youth initiative designed to challenge college students to take action on some of the most pressing global issues in areas such as education, poverty and global health. At CGI U, Asomugha spoke to over 1,200 student leaders, university presidents and leaders of national youth organizations about his philanthropic efforts in Nigeria and Oakland.
Additionally, Asomugha distributes backpacks to the incoming freshmen each year at Narbonne High School in Los Angeles. He also outfits the football and basketball team with shoes, a mandate he wrote into an endorsement contract he signed with Nike.
Nnamdi said at the awards ceremony, “I kind of feel undeserving after hearing what all of these wonderful men do, this is big…this is huge for me. I really just wanted to help people, I didn’t have any motive behind it, it wasn’t about winning awards or getting recognition it’s just something that is in me. It’s something that’s been in me since I was a little kid. I remember, my dad would turn into Santa Claus and give out gifts around the neighborhood. I remember a couple of years; I would just go with him, just to see what it was like to do that. In just sitting in the background watching that, I was able to see what it is like to give someone attention, what it feels like to give back, and what it feels like to encourage someone.”
Congratulations to Nnamdi in his efforts to be a truly great humanitarian. We could all learn a lot from this man, and we should all learn what I feels like to give someone attention, to give back, and to encourage someone. Congratulations Nnamdi, you are always the Raider Nation’s Man of the Year.
— Bret Armstrong, TFDS Guest Contributor