The National Football League has decided to allow “A Man of God” to spread the word of God but he has already proven he didn’t need their help in his mission.
In his seven-plus seasons in the NFL, New Orleans Saints starting linebacker Demario Davis has earned a reputation as one of their most reliable defenders (averaging nearly 100 tackles per season), and also for his leadership on and off the field (like leading the team’s pregame chants this season while Drew Brees is recovering from thumb surgery).
Davis, though, recently made headlines for something else — his faith.
The Saints captain was fined $7,017 following the team’s 33-27 road victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3. Davis did not have his wallet become lighter due to a late hit on quarterback Russell Wilson or for ripping off a helmet and throwing it toward the Seahawks’ bench or for cursing out one of the members of the officiating crew, the latter would have been likely cheered by the majority of The Who Dat Nation.
Davis did not commit any of those fine-worthy acts. No, the egregious act Davis committed that Sunday in the Pacific Northwest was wearing a gold headband — a piece of clothing that simply read “Man of God.”
Yes. That’s right. Davis opted to proudly display his faith (in a non-offensive way) and the NFL promptly punished him for that.
The league claimed that Davis’ headband was a violation of the NFL dress code which prohibits “from wearing, displaying, or otherwise conveying personal message either in writing or illustration, unless such message has been approved in advance by the League office.”
Let’s ignore the fact that this is a headband that can’t be seen during the game because you know — it is underneath his helmet. That is unless either one of the networks has yet to tell us about infrared technology.
Not to mention that if the NFL was so concerned about offending people who are not Christian or of any faith, they could not have their cameramen not point the TV cameras to the bench where Davis is. I am pretty certain that those big fancy cameras are on swivels.
Davis, of course, took the minor financial setback from the league as an opportunity to further spread the word.
“I accept the fine but the mission continues! Obstacles are made to be conquered and I’m here to serve,” Davis wrote on his Instagram account.
Davis began serving by selling his head bands online at www.sleefs.com, with 100 percent of the process going to St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. The 30-year-old Davis played at Arkansas State, but is a native of the Magnolia state.
In just a few weeks, Davis had raised $30,000 for the hospital, and in turn inspired faculty and students at St. Louis King of France Catholic School in Metairie, too. The small school created their headbands out of construction paper with “Child of God” written across the top.
Then on Tuesday, Davis announced that he had won his appeal with the NFL.
Davis celebrated by posting on Twitter, “We’ve raised $30,000 from headbands AND I won my appeal! Always glory above so I’m donating that original $7,017 to @stdomhospital still. Ya’ll helped me turn a $7,000 negative into a $40,000 positive & got this school to support! Let’s go! #ManOfGod.”
The NFL is so afraid individual expression is going to hurt its brand that it throws out fines to players like beads at Mardi Gras, and regulates expression to its overly controlled “My Cause, My Cleats” program.
Fining players for wearing headbands or wristbands or eye paint with scripture or excessively priced watches or knock offs (talking to you Odell Beckham Jr.) or for whatever reason is absolutely ludicrous, a complete waste of time and the epitome of just how tone deaf the NFL truly is.
Not to mention, apparently the fine for New England Patriots owners Robert Kraft for being part of a massive prostitution-sex trafficking sting in Florida has gotten lost in the mail. I guess the league office forgot to overnight that and pay extra for the signature confirmation.
Players expressing themselves doesn’t hurt the brand of the NFL. Despite all the outrage over the kneeling movement a few years ago, the NFL still records monster TV numbers and continues to be the most profitable sports league in the United States.
So how in the world would a man wearing a headband with “Man of God” written on it warrant a fine? Maybe the answer can be found in prayer because we all know the NFL has no idea what it stands for, or what it does not stand for or what a catch is for that matter.
That is thankfully not the case for Davis who continues to be inspired to spread the word even if the NFL is quick to slap him with a fine.