San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin was named one of three finalists for the 2014-15 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Boldin joins Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the running for this award. The winner will receive a $25,000 donation in his name to a charity of his choice from both the NFL Foundation and Nationwide ($50,000 total). The two additional finalists will receive $5,000 donations in their names.
Boldin has done all sorts of good work during his NFL career. His Q81 Foundation provides college scholarships, and works with kids in high school, helping them catch up on classwork to keep them from falling behind. Boldin also has done work in Africa to improve mining laws, and attempt to get more potable water. He is also attempting to build a community center in his hometown of Pahokee, Florida.
Boldin chatted with the media via conference call on Tuesday, primarily discussing the charity work. Toward the end he got a couple football questions about Jim Tomsula and offensive assistant Ronald Curry. Here is the transcript, and you can listen HERE.
On being a finalist:
I think it means a lot. I know it means a lot to me, just to be named a finalist. I think all of the guys involved have done great things. It means a lot to be recognized with those guys.
On relaying message to teammates and kids about giving back:
My message is not just to my teammates and my kids ... For me, it's a message for everybody. If you have it, you should give it. Not just the players, but owners, especially our commissioner ... I think everybody in a position to give back should give back. I believe there's an obligation. I don't think it should be a choice. None of us have gotten to where we are without somebody else's help. I know we all like to say we're self-made, and things like that, but to be honest with you, everybody has gotten where they are with the help of somebody else. So I don't think we can be selfish about it, "well, I don't want to, I don't feel like it."
On what about Q81 has struck a chord with him:
Well for me, it's not just one story. There's a lot of stories. I think the main thing for me is just trying to see people better themselves. I know for a fact for myself, especially when you see somebody take advantage of the help that you've given them, and then they change their situation completely. That's the thing that I'm really proud of. Giving somebody the opportunity to do better or to make better of themselves. Because I don't think you just change that one person's life. I think that person will go on and help somebody else, and help change somebody else's life as well. It's an on-going cycle. So it's not one story, it's all these stories where lives have been changed.
On who else has reached out to him about his work besides the NFL and NFLPA:
Definitely. I get thank you letters all the time. People call me, let me know, especially because I try and keep in contact with the people that I'm able to help. I try to find out how things are going, and people get in contact with me, they text me, they call me. They let me know about their recent accomplishment, whether they graduate, they get a job, or they buy a house. It's like they know that if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be in this position. I have one person we just helped, and he and his wife just bought a home. And that's something he thought would never happen, but he's been able to get a better job, and able to support his family, him and his wife were able to save up enough to where they could buy their first home. And that's something that he's proud of, and he told me that. Had it not been for me helping him out, he knows that he would not have been able to do that.
On if he'll return to Africa:
We're still talking right now. There is progress, and there will be tweaks to the mining laws in Africa. With everything that we do, we try and follow up on it. We're talking right now about a return trip, maybe sometime in March. We're looking at dates right now, and a couple different places we're looking at as well.
Will White House get involved:
Not sure. We're still in the talking stages. I have a meeting coming up real soon to help finalize some stuff on that front.
Status of Pahokee community center he wants to build:
We're still getting funds for the building. We have the plans, we have everything mapped out. We have the land, we have everything. We're just still getting the funds right for the place. The thing that you don't want to happen is to build a community center, and then have it close down because you don't have the funds to run it annually. That's where we are right now.
On inspiration for personal $1 million donation to his foundation:
I think with me and my wife, I think we both recognize the importance of getting higher education. The way the job market is set up now, without a college education, it's hard to compete for a job. It used to be when I was younger, you could compete for a job even with a high school diploma. Nowadays, it's not so. You need a college education to be competitive in the job market, so for us, we want to encourage people to continue on past high school. To go on and receive a college degree so they can be competitive in the job market. Me and my wife were both fortunate enough to go to college. We both went to Florida State, and we understand the importance of higher education. Us giving $1 million, it's where that comes from.
On continuing foundation after playing days:
That's not something that I worry about, at all. When I am done playing football, I think the foundation will be able to do even better because I'll have a lot more time to dedicate to it.
On post-football plans:
At this point, I'm involved in my foundation, I mean I'm really involved in my foundation. Especially in the offseason. During the season there are times I want to do things, but I can't. So when I'm done, obviously that won't be the case. So I can dedicate as much time as I want to to my foundation, and that's something that I'm looking forward to, to be honest with you. I love football, I love playing the game of football, but I think I get more joy out of helping people, and seeing people succeed, than I do scoring touchdowns.
On new head coach:
I think it was a good call. I think it was a good choice. I've been around Tomsula for the last two years. He's a very energetic guy. He's a guy that knows the game of football. So I think, not only myself, but I think all the other guys are excited about the opportunity that he's been given.
On his work with Ronald Curry and potential WRs coach:
To be honest, I haven't heard anything about any coaching positions. Just to be honest. I've worked with Ronald Curry the last two years. He's been right alongside Johnny Mo the last two years, so we have a pretty good relationship.
On whether his brother will return to the staff:
I'm not sure. Like I said, I haven't heard anything about any of the coaches besides Coach Tomsula, so I don't know what the status is at this point.