Former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and former Vikings defensive lineman Alan Page will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, making them the first recipients of the award who are known primarily for their NFL careers.
President Trump announced today that Staubach and Page, both members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will be among this year’s recipients. Although one former NFL player, Byron “Whizzer” White, is a past Medal of Freedom recipient, he won the award because of his service on the U.S. Supreme Court. No one best known for playing football had received the honor before, although two college football coaches, Bear Bryant and Earl Blaik, had been recognized.
Staubach won the Heisman Trophy at Navy and then served in the military for five years before beginning his NFL career. His military service included a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam.
Page went to the University of Minnesota Law School during his offseasons when he played for the Vikings and eventually became the first African-American on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Trump chose an eclectic group of recipients for this year’s Medals of Freedom. Also on the list is Miriam Adelson, who with her husband Sheldon Adelson is the Republican Party’s biggest financial backer. Other recipients will include Senator Orrin Hatch, and posthumously Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, singer Elvis Presley and baseball legend Babe Ruth.