WASHINGTON — WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen was honored Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., with the Radio Television Digital News Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award, joining the likes of past winners Tom Brokaw and Robin Roberts.

The RTDNF – which also honored slain Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Fox News' Shepard Smith and CNN at its First Amendment Awards dinner – announced the honorees in January, describing Hansen as a "true Texas one-of-a-kind."

"What we do matters," Hansen said in his speech Wednesday night. "What we do is too important to give up now."

WATCH: Dale Hansen's entire speech from the First Amendment Awards

The foundation cited Hansen's award-winning career at WFAA, which began in 1983, including his coverage of the SMU football pay-for-play investigation in the 1980s that earned Hansen a George Foster Peabody Award and a duPont Columbia University Silver Baton.

The award announcement also cited Hansen's "razor sharp" Unplugged commentaries, which have gone viral in recent years. His Unplugged segment on NFL players' National Anthem protests racked up more than one million views on YouTube. 

His commentaries on race relations in Texas, openly gay football player Michael Sam and school shootings have all been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.