The Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month on Sunday during their game against the Washington Redskins, connecting the Bay area's Latino culture with "Futbol Americano" throughout Raymond James Stadium.
The celebration included special recognition for Lilly Gonzalez, who received the second annual NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, presented by Bud Light.
Gonzalez, a first-generation Cuban-American, is currently the vice president and general manager of Univision and Telefutura affiliates in the Tampa Bay area. The Buccaneers honored Gonzalez for her dedicated work in the community, philanthropy and continuous work promoting the welfare of the Hispanic community in Tampa Bay. In 2000, Gonzalez helped launch the first Spanish-language Bay area newscast and was instrumental in launching the Telefutura affiliate, channel 50, in 2002.
Gonzalez was grateful for the acknowledgement and the Buccaneers' ongoing support in the community.
"It is something that I would have never imagined," Gonzalez said. "The Bucs have been a staple in our community for so long, and to actually be a part of this celebration, it's been wonderful."
In a partnership with Bud Light, the Buccaneers presented Gonzalez with a $3,000 donation prior to kickoff. Gonzalez plans to donate the money to the Hispanic Services Council, a charitable organization that represents the interests and issues of Latinos by providing services to address housing, economic, health and educational needs.
"[Hispanic Services Council] has been a member of our community that helps Hispanics establish themselves, educate themselves and become better residents of the community," Gonzalez said.
As the teams prepared to take the field, Gonzalez was not only excited for a competitive game, but for the opportunity for the Bay area community to come together as a whole.
"I am looking forward to the representation from different countries," Gonzalez said. "We are a very diverse community and it's pretty nice to see everyone represented in one way or another here today."