The National Football League (NFL) has fined New Orleans Saints’ linebacker Demario Davis $7,000 for wearing a headband that says “Man of God,” Yahoo! Sports reports.
Earlier this week, Davis posted a photo of his headband on his Instagram account, and noted that he’d been fined $7k (actually, $7,017) for wearing the accessory, and asked his followers if he should wear it again or not.
The NFL’s “Personal Message” Policy
The League specifically prohibits players from wearing equipment that has “personal messages” on it, as you can see in the NFL rule book. Specifically, all such messages have to be approved by the League in advance, and in general, such things are limited to league-wide or team-wide messages. For example, a team may affix armbands to their uniforms in honor of the death of an owner or former coach; or a team may add helmet decals in honor of an important anniversary (with prior approval from the League, of course).
But as for individual players taking it upon themselves to advance a message, whether written by hand or produced by the equipment’s manufacturer, the NFL is clear: no-go.
The NFL has levied such fines before. For example, back in 2015, DeAngelo Williams, then of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was fined $5,787 (the fine has gone up since then) for wearing “Find the Cure” in his eye-black in honor of breast cancer awareness — during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That same week, Steeler William Gay was fined the same amount for wearing purple cleats to show support for domestic violence awareness. Gay’s mother had been shot and killed by his stepfather when Gay was a young boy.
Demario Davis, A Man Of God
Davis, for his part, is outspoken in being a devout Christian. As New York City’s WCBS-TV reported in 2014, Davis said that he studies the Bible and his team’s (at the time the Jets) playbook with equal urgency.
“I wanted [my teammates] to know that I put God first, I put my family second and I put football third,” he said.
No Longer Wearing The Headband
Davis actually wore the headband a couple of games ago — he just waited until this week to announce the fine. He didn’t wear the band in the subsequent game.
Davis says that, even though he’s decided not to wear the band anymore, he believes that bringing the matter to his fans’ attention served a purpose.
“Nobody wants to lose money but I think any time that the conversation about God is brought up, especially in these times, I think it’s always a positive or silver lining,” he says.