By Chris Wright, News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The Sooner faithful are reveling in Sam Bradford's Heisman victory. The University of Oklahoma quarterback received the award during a ceremony in New York Saturday night.
The Heisman means a great deal to Sooner fans, but it may mean even more to the members of Cherokee Nation.
As Sam Bradford strolled to the podium Saturday night, he was cheered on by members of both Sooner Nation and the Cherokee Nation.
The quarterback is one-sixteenth Cherokee and admits that while growing up in suburban Oklahoma City, he was rarely exposed to his heritage. Still, Bradford says he realizes that he is a role model for young Native Americans.
"I feel like that's another blessing that God's given me. I have a great platform, especially within the Cherokee Nation. And for me to be an example for those kids, I look at it as a great opportunity for me," said Sam Bradford, Heisman Winner.
Bradford is believed to be the first Native American to quarterback a major college program since the early 70's. That is a fact not lost on Cherokees, who say they've been following his career since high school.
"Sam Bradford handles himself very well and is a great representative of Oklahoma certainly, and of the Cherokee Nation. So, it made all of us proud," said Mike Miller, Cherokee Nation.
"I'm a huge OU fan and I'm very proud to see a Cherokee tribal member win such an honor, and that our tribal members are recognized in such an arena," said Robin Stand, Cherokee Nation.
While Cherokee Nation members are enthralled about the Heisman and the pride it has brought to their tribe, they say a national championship next month will be even sweeter.
"I don't think you'll find a more pro-Sooner group than the Cherokee Nation. We're going to be cheering very hard come January 8th," said Miller.
Some are already grouping Bradford with the greatest Native American athletes of all-time -- men like Jim Thorpe and Olympic Champion Billy Mills.
That's a pretty impressive accomplishment for a 21-year-old.
12/13/2008 Bradford Wins The Heisman Trophy