San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin has had the most productive season in his NFL career with his new team but also the most tragic. He has been open with the media through out it all. As a result, the San Francisco chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America, myself included, named Goodwin the recipient of the Garry Niver Award for professionalism and cooperation with the media.
Goodwin opened up via conference call after his son was stillborn in the middle of the season and he spoke to us for quite some time. It was never an expectation that he would do that, when he could have simply released a statement. Goodwin felt that he could help people by sharing his story and also wanted to thank those who had been understanding during their ordeal. A little bit later in the season, he lost his biological father and still remained available after the game for interviews.
Being interviewed by the media can be enjoyable after a win, but is seldom so after a loss. Goodwin always spoke with candor and honestly after each game, no matter the numbers on the scoreboard. While it is part of the job of a NFL football player to participate in interviews, Goodwin always did it with grace and understanding that we all have a job to do and it is very appreciated.
Runners up for the award were Eric Reid and Daniel Kilgore. Recent previous recipients include Antoine Bethea, Frank Gore (3-time recipient), Torrey Smith and Donte Whitner (2-time recipient).