Benjamin Watson, Tight End for the New Orleans Saints, recently took to social media to express his gratitude after winning the Sports Impact Award during the K-LOVE Fan Awards on Sunday.
"Every athlete wants to win an award at a music and entertainment award show! Watson wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening. "Well WE DID IT! I'm so grateful for all of you who took the time to vote for me. The show was amazing. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. It really means a lot to me. God bless."
The NFL star was among dozens of leading entertainers in the Christian community to attend the annual awards ceremony, which was held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee. The show is presented by the Christian music radio network K-LOVE, which operates more than 400 stations across the country, and winners were decided by a nationwide fan vote.
After receiving a standing ovation from the K-LOVE audience, Watson briefly addressed the issue of racial reconciliation and encouraged the audience to engage the culture from a Biblical standpoint.
"K-LOVE we need to be the salt," he told the crowd.
Watson is an 11-year NFL veteran and has four children with his wife, Kirsten. In March, his powerful Facebook post about the Islamic State and the rise of Christian persecution throughout the world quickly went viral and established him as one of the most outspoken and influential Christian athletes of today. He has also addressed other hot-button issues such as Ferguson, Baltimore, and the "Deflategate" controversy in a powerful, Biblically-charged way.
In receiving the coveted Sports Impact Award, Watson beat out other notable athletes including Brett Kern of the Tennessee Titans, Indiana Hoosier men's basketball coach Tom Crean, NBA star Tyler Zeller, Kevin Streelman, and former Major League Baseball right fielder Darryl Strawberry.
Sunday night's K-LOVE Fan Awards show was hosted by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Kirk Cameron, and featured performances from Third Day, Colton Dixon, TobyMac, Kari Jobe, Tenth Avenue North, Plumb, Chris Tomlin, Danny Gokey, Jeremy Camp, Reach Records rapper KB, Casting Crowns, Matt Maher, and Side Walk Prophets. Big winners of the night included King & Country (Group of the Year, Artist of the Year), Francesca Battistelli (Female Artist of the Year), Chris Tomlin (Male Artist of the Year), Lauren Daigle (Worship Song of the Year), 'A.D. the Bible Continues' (Film and Television Impact) and Newsboys (Song of the Year).