In a world of drug-using, steroid-cheating, wife- and girlfriend-beating, alcohol-abusing obnoxious, entitlement-minded professional athletes comes New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis, with a talk the talk, walk the walk example of how to go bold for — get this — God.
Gotta love this.
He’s a John 1:5 in action: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
His story is this: He was just fined $7,017 for violating the section of the National Football League’s uniform regulation that prohibits players from wearing “personal messages” while on the field. What did Davis wear?
A headband that said “Man of God.”
Why did he wear it?
He wore it during his team’s third game of the season against Seattle to help raise money for the emergency room section of St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, the state which he calls home.
Yes, he broke NFL rules.
But this is the same NFL that let Colin Kaepernick wear his famous pig police socks on the practice field — the same NFL that allowed players to take a bended knee during the singing of the national anthem — the same NFL that allowed politics and Black Lives Matter messaging to poison entire seasons and alienate entire fan bases.
This is the same NFL that actually broke its own uniform policy by allowing players to promote charitable causes on their cleats for a set week in December of the 2016 season.
This is the same NFL that sparked this headline in 2015, from Forbes: “Why Isn’t The NFL Enforcing Its Uniform Code?” The piece went on to recount how “Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward wrote IRON HEAD on his eyeblack strips, honoring his father and former NFLer Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward, who passed away from brain cancer in 2006 … [and how] teammate DeAngelo Williams took up the approach [too] when he wore eyeblack strips that featured the words ‘Find The Cure’ and an image of the pink breast cancer ribbon.”
Granted, both Heyward and Williams were docked several thousands of dollars.
But the point is: The NFL’s uniform code has been broken on past occasions, for various reasons, with various results.
At least Davis wasn’t wearing pig police socks.
His story has an update: “So my agent just told me that I won my appeal and won’t have to pay the headband fine!!” he wrote on Instagram.
And his message appeared alongside a photograph of children at the school all sporting headbands with the same “Man of God” message. Davis finished with this: “Look at all these beautiful children of God. Always glory above so I’m taking every penny of that original $7,017 fine and donating it to [St. Dominic’s] anyways,” he wrote.
In the meanwhile, sales of “Man of God” headbands — along with “Woman of God” headbands — have spiked. All due to coverage about the NFL fine.
“So far, we’ve raised over $30,000 for [the hospital] from the headbands,” Davis said.
And wait for it, wait for it. Here come the “Child of God” headbands, with proceeds helping the hospital, as well.
Great story. In a celebrity sports atmosphere that gives rise to the likes of a Colin Kaepernick, it’s oh-so-inspiring to know that — through God — the same atmosphere can also bring forth a Davis. It almost makes the NFL look good.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.