NFL linebacker wins appeal of 'Man of God' headband fine, donates $7,000 to hospital

Over $30,000 raised for charity through headband's online sales proceeds

Linebacker Demario Davis pumps his teammates up during a pre-game huddle ahead of a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 22, 2019, in Seattle, Washington.
Linebacker Demario Davis pumps his teammates up during a pre-game huddle ahead of a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 22, 2019, in Seattle, Washington. | YouTube/New Orleans Saints

A New Orleans Saints team captain fined over $7,000 for wearing a headband with the words “Man of God” displayed across the front has won his appeal. 

Linebacker Demario Davis took to Instagram Tuesday night to say that he was victorious in his appeal of a $7,017 fine imposed on him by the National Football League for a uniform infraction during a Sept. 22 game against the Seattle Seahawks. 

Davis’ violation was wearing a gold “Man of God” headband with black letters underneath his helmet. The phrase “Man of God” was visible at points in the game when Davis took off his helmet.

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The league’s strict uniform policy stipulates that players can’t display any “personal messages” unless the message is approved in advance by the league office. 

“So my agent just told me that I won my appeal and won't have to pay the headband fine!!” Davis wrote in an Instagram post

Instead of keeping the money, Davis said he would donate “every penny” of the fine to St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. 

St. Dominic’s emergency department has been the beneficiary of the proceeds from the “Man of God,” “Woman of God” and “Child of God” headbands Davis began selling online in response to his fine. 

The headbands can be purchased for $25 and are available in gold and pink. 

“So far, we’ve raised over $30,000 for [the hospital] from the headbands!!” Davis wrote in his Instagram post.  “That means yall helped me turn a $7,000 negative into an almost $40,000 positive benefiting people who truly need it!!! Do y’all see how that worked??”

“Let’s gooooo. That’s crazy!” he added. “Ya’ll are a part of this journey too!! I can’t thank ya’ll enough either. We on a mission over here obstacles are meant to be conquered!! I’m truly blessed as anybody.”

Davis was previously unaware that wearing the headband constituted a uniform violation, expressing at that time that he had worn the headband in games prior

"Of course you don't want to be fined," Davis told The Times-Picayune last week. 

”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. If he can get glory from it, I think he can get glory from it whether I personally wear the headband or don't wear the headband. He's always gonna be in control of the whole situation. We're still all good."

A minimum fine for a second offense is over $14,000. 

According to ESPN, the NFL often rescinds finds in uniform violation cases when a player can demonstrate compliance with the rule going forward. 

Davis has not worn the headband in the two games since the fine was imposed. But Davis has worn the headband during post-game locker room interviews. 

In a pre-game huddle on the field in last Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Davis wore a gold headband with what appeared to be a cross drawn across the front. 

Davis is a father of four and one of the more vocal NFL players in terms of his faith. 

On his Instagram account, Davis wrote that above all else in his life he is a “servant of God 1st!” 

Davis was drafted by the New York Jets in the 2012 NFL Draft and has become one of the league’s more consistent linebackers, amassing over 700 tackles through his first six-plus seasons as a regular NFL starter. 

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