Steve Gleason to receive a special award at the 2024 ESPYs

Former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason will be the recipient of a special honor at the 2024 ESPY Awards.
Answer ALS And Team Gleason's Game Changer Gala
Answer ALS And Team Gleason's Game Changer Gala / Erika Goldring/GettyImages

Steve Gleason, former NFL player who spent seven seasons with the New Orleans Saints, is set to receive an incredibly special award at the 2024 ESPY Awards. It was announced on Thursday that Gleason is this year’s recipient of The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. In ESPN’s press release, Garrett Cowan expressed, “Former NFL safety Steve Gleason will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for his heroic fight against ALS.”

The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage is one of the prestigious awards given out every year at the ESPYs to a member of the sports community doing incredible work.

"The award is given to a deserving member of the sports world who has made a difference beyond the field of play by fighting for what they believe in, impacting people worldwide. After being diagnosed with ALS in 2011, Gleason resolved to face the incurable disease head on. He established his nonprofit, Team Gleason, to empower people with ALS to live purposeful lives by providing broad-reaching programming and support services to help others thrive and ultimately bring an end to the disease."

Garrett Cowan

Steve Gleason will receive The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage

Cowan detailed Team Gleason’s role in successfully lobbying for The Steve Gleason act, “which ensures the availability of life sustaining communication devices in the U.S.” Additionally, Gleason has served as a catalyst for the development of technology for ALS patients.

Gleason, who went undrafted in the 2000 NFL Draft, initially signed with the Indianapolis Colts, but joined the Saints after being released by Indy. In seven seasons with the Saints, Gleason appeared in 83 games. His most memorable moment as a player with the organization came in 2006, during the team’s first game back in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. Gleason blocked a punt that helped New Orleans win the game, but even bigger than that, as Cowan put it, the block “became a symbol of recovery in the city.”

Gleason retired two years later in 2008, and in 2011, he announced that he was battling ALS. Since then, he has been at work, and his work will be honored at the 2024 ESPYs on July 11, airing at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.