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Michael Bidwill To Receive Fritz Pollard Award

Cardinals president to get Paul Tagliabue honor for diversity efforts

Cardinals president Michael Bidwill will be given the Paul Tagliabue award this week at the Super Bowl by the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
Cardinals president Michael Bidwill will be given the Paul Tagliabue award this week at the Super Bowl by the Fritz Pollard Alliance.

The Cardinals aren't in the Super Bowl, but team president Michael Bidwill will be earning an award in Atlanta nonetheless.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance will present Bidwill, a member of the NFL's Workplace Diversity committee, with the Paul Tagliabue Award Thursday during its Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Salute to Excellence Awards ceremony. The Tagliabue award goes to a league or team executive who demonstrates the integrity and leadership that Tagliabue, the former NFL commissioner, exhibited in creating opportunities/advocating for minority candidates.

"The Bidwill family has always done the right thing on issues of equality, from the days when Adele Harris was PR and community relations director back in St. Louis to the current day," John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said in a statement. "Michael's leadership has been a critical component in carrying the Cardinals' legacy of equal opportunity forward."

Bidwill is the fifth member of the Cardinals to receive a Pollard award in recent years. Owner Bill Bidwill and former general manager Rod Graves won the Paul "Tank" Younger award in 2010 and 2011, respectively, for helping provide opportunities for minorities on and off the field. Scout Malik Boyd was named the NFC Scout of the Year in 2014, and in 2016, former coach Bruce Arians was given the Fritz Pollard Alliance Game Ball award for his commitment to extending NFL coaching opportunities to minorities.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance was created in 2003 for the purpose of promoting diversity and equality of job opportunity in the NFL. The Alliance helps develop hiring guidelines for minorities alongside the league.

Aside from the hiring of Harris -- the first African-American female executive in the NFL in 1978 -- the Cardinals also were the first team to make an African-American in charge of contract negotiations when Bob Wallace was hired for that job in 1981. The Cardinals were the first team to have African-Americans as both GM and coach when the team hired Dennis Green in 2004 to join Graves.

The Cardinals also created the Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship, an a two-year coaching internship to increase coaching diversity and opportunity, in 2015. Levon Kirkland (2015-16) and Terry Allen (2017-18) were the first two fellows for the Cardinals.