Houston Heroes JJ Watt and Jose Altuve win Sportsperson of the Year, while Kaepernick gets scraps

Sports Illustrated scored a major home run with their two picks for Sportsperson of the Year.

Jose Altuve (left) and JJ Watt (right) were the recipients of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Award. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)

Liberals hoped Colin Kaepernick would take home the coveted honor. But the controversial former 49ers quarterback was sidelined with the lesser-known Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, a recognition that Sports Illustrated has only offered since 2014.

(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

Instead, the title went to Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve–both heralded as heroes for helping revitalize their hometown after the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

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Sports Illustrated presented the Houston heroes with the award at a special ceremony held at Barclays Center in New York Monday night.

(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

The illustrious sports magazine said Watt and Altuve aided in Houston’s recovery in their own way.

“By the third week of September, less than a month after Hurricane Harvey had devastated Houston and its surrounding region, Watt had raised more than $37 million in relief aid. The SOTY candidacy of the Texans’ defensive end was unaffected by the gruesome, season-ending leg injury he suffered in Week 5. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year—the best defensive player of his generation, really—could have had the best season of his career, or the worst. His place as a Sportsperson of the Year had already been engraved.”

Sports Illustrated credited Venezuelan baseball player Altuve–who led his team to their first World Series win–with bringing pride and high spirits to the hearts of Houstonians after a terrible natural disaster.

“The 5′ 6” Altuve had his own contribution to Houston’s post-storm recovery. The personal journey of the Astros second baseman is an inspirational one, a classic tale of an underestimated athlete overcoming the longest of odds. And this fall, Altuve was the joyous catalyst for one of the most unlikely World Series runs in recent memory. Championships don’t save communities, and we should be careful to assign too much weight to their powers of healing. But what other event can bring a million-plus people together and provide a platform, however ephemeral, to cast aside the differences that drive so many of us to sports in the first place?”

The magazine’s editorial staff concluded: “The stories of these two athletes who care represent two very different paths, but they led to the same destination: #HoustonStrong.”

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Sports Illustrated’s award to Kaepernick gave liberals something to gloat over. But for their main award, they forewent politics and instead honored athletes who truly did something for their community.


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