He used to get in trouble by dishonoring God. Now Demario Davis gets into trouble by honoring Him.
The New Orleans Saints linebacker was busted by the NFL with a $7,000 fine for wearing a headband that says, “Man of God,” in a Sept 22 game against the Seattle Seahawks for violating the NFL’s no-personal propaganda policy. The NFL has since reversed the decision on appeal.
“I was a guy headed in the wrong direction fast and God radically changed me,” he told The Increase. “I get to play this wonderful game of football and I’m blessed to do it but my life is so much more than that in God. That’s what I really want people to know about me.”
“They were my heroes,” he proclaimed on a YouTube video. “I wanted to show them that I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t afraid to be a bad boy. I just wanted to impress them.”
At 14, he was already using marijuana, alcohol and sex. When he tried to steal a wallet from another kid at school, he got expelled.
“Demario, what have you done?” his mother implored on the phone. “You have messed up your life.”
The quavering voice and deeply troubled emotion from mom shook him.
Still he persisted in sin. He and some friends were breaking into cars and Demario punched a window out. The shattering glass gashed his arm severely. He is still scarred today from the wound. Had the cut slit his wrist, he might have died, he says.
“That scared me to the point that the rest of my junior and senior year, I cleaned up my act.”
While he indulged in devilry on the streets, he excelled in football. As a freshman in high school, he scored 50 touchdowns as a running back.
“I knew then that football was a possible avenue for success for me,” he says.
He won a scholarship to college, but felt like a “small fish in a big pond” who needed to prove himself by drinking, smoking and partying. Stealing groceries at Walmart, he got arrested and landed in jail. He was a freshman and still hadn’t played a single minute of a game — but was at risk of being busted by his coach and possibly sent home with his scholarship rescinded.
He begged his coach for a second chance.
Graciously, he was granted one more opportunity.
That’s when the team’s chaplain fortuitously began to take a personal interest in Demario and share scriptures with him.
Demario had gone to church and knew about the Bible, but the chaplain really opened his eyes to truths that he hadn’t seen clearly before. Specifically, Demario had believed that while he participated in shenanigans, he “had a good heart.”
But the chaplain shattered that deception. “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit,” he said, showing the verses that talk about it.
Then the chaplain explained to Demario that God could give him a new heart.
This is what Demario longed for. So he prayed.
Instantly, he was delivered from alcohol.
Marijuana smoking stopped some time later.
Fornication came to an end a few years later.
Little by little, he tried to submit to God and was becoming a “man of God.”
So he wore the headband “Man of God” and was busted by the NFL.
On Instagram, Demario asked his followers: “Should I continue to wear it, or nah? Should I continue to wear it because of the messaging or would I follow the rule? Which would bring ultimate glory to God?”
A second violation would result in a doubled fine.
Ultimately, he pledged to follow the NFL rule, reasoning that the Bible tells believers to submit to every governing authority. The NFL canceled the fine.
In the meantime, he began selling “Man of God” and “Woman of God” bandanas online, at $25 each, with the proceeds donated to St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Miss., where he grew up. So far, $40,000 has been raised. When the NFL handed him back his fine, Demario donated that towards the charity.
“Y’all helped me turn a $7,000 negative into an almost $40,000 positive benefiting people who truly need it!!!” Demario posted on social media. “Do y’all see how that worked?? Let’s gooooo. That’s crazy! Ya’ll are a part of this journey too!! I can’t thank ya’ll enough either.”
Demario is married with four children.
“No matter the case, whether I’m wearing a headband, or whether I’m not wearing a headband, whether I’m talking about a headband, I’m not talking about a headband, I’m always using my platform to glorify God,” Demario said. “And that’s never going to change. Because I believe he’s the one who gave me this platform for that purpose to make his name known. So I’ll always be about that.”
Israel Matthews studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.