With all of the hoopla surrounding the Houston Texans nowadays, it might seem tough to find anything positive about this franchise. However, Michael Thomas is showing that even if the ownership doesn’t care about the fanbase, the players still look out for the community. After having his season cut short by a torn pectoral injury, Thomas is up for the “Walter Payton Man Of The Year” award. Here is a blurb from the NFL covering his local contributions this year.
A Houston native, Michael has always been on the forefront of social justice initiatives; this year has been no different. The nine-year NFL veteran has excelled in his return to his hometown in 2020. Michael’s approach has been two-fold, centering on advocacy and education, while driving legislative change in the community. Prior to Week 1, he created the unique design of the NFLPA’s “END RACISM” pre-game warm-ups that have been worn by the 1,696 players across the NFL. After the death of George Floyd, Michael organized a Texans players-only video calling for social justice reform and he was featured in the NFL’s “Say Their Stories” video to highlight the death of Philando Castile.
Along with education, Michael understands the importance of proper legislation after interning with Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and learning from his mother, Bernadette, who was a lawyer herself. Thomas helped carefully craft six action items that accompanied the Texans players-only social justice video in order to create real change. Not only did Thomas create these, but he also took it upon himself to act on them. Through social media and with the organization, he has consistently encouraged fans to vote through the “We Are Texans, We Are Voters” campaign. His “Victory Mondays” fundraiser has generated over $17,000 this season by auctioning off special game memorabilia and experiences to raise money for HBCU scholarship funds and the Dreambuilders Foundation. He also joined a Zoom with women who are battling breast cancer to offer words of encouragement as part of the Texans’ Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts. Thomas lost his sister NnZinga last year to breast cancer and spoke passionately about her life and how he was inspired by the women on the call who have been courageously fighting. Finally, Michael has established himself as a champion for youth and how they, too, can foster significant change.
He participated in the Boys & Girls Club of America Youth for Change Town Hall in October and has been the spokesperson for the Houston Texans Stats Challenge program, which uses football to encourage kids to enjoy math while emphasizing the importance of academics.
While it’s highly unlikely that any Texan not named Deshaun Watson will be taking home any hardware this year, Thomas is still deeply appreciated for his community efforts. Who knows? Maybe Frank Ross will push to keep him around for the special teams unit next season.