We established the John Wooten Leadership Award as a way to recognize the contribution that John Wooten has made during a 50-year NFL career as a player and front office executive. The awards are presented annually to the NFL player, NFL executive and sports personality whose play, community activities and contributions exemplify the leadership and vision of John Wooten, affectionately known as the “Godfather”. Like the Marlon Brando character, Wooten’s level of influence knows no bounds and his blessings and endorsement can build a career. Commissioners, general managers and head coaches seek his advice and to gain his counsel is the key to gaining knowledge and insight that is virtually unparalleled in the NFL. As Chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, John has been a major instrument behind the successful movement for diversity in the NFL, including establishment of the so-called “Rooney Rule”.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, John Wooten and James Brown of CBS Sports at the 5th Annual John Wooten Leadership Awards in New York City as part of Super Bowl XLVIII