Saints LB Demario Davis turns overturned headband fine into charity

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis turned his $7,017 fine for wearing a "Man of God" headband into a win-win.

First, Davis channeled the outspoken reaction to his fine into a charitable cause. He announced Tuesday that he has raised more than $30,000 in sales of "Man of God," "Woman of God" and "Child of God" headbands for St. Dominic Hospital in his home state of Mississippi.

Davis also announced on social media that he won his appeal with the NFL over the fine, which occurred in Week 3, and that he will be donating the money he won back to St. Dominic, as well.

"That's a huge win," Davis said Wednesday while wearing the "Man of God" headband at his locker. "We've been able to turn it into a positive and use it to raise funds for a hospital that's trying to rebuild this emergency room. And just to have the support of the community -- and pretty much nationwide -- it's been amazing. And then on top of that, being blessed to win the appeal and be able to take those funds that I was already counting as a loss and further contribute to the cause, it's just a major blessing. And I don't take it for granted."

Davis said he also has "something special coming" for the kids at St. Louis King of France Catholic School in Metairie, who supported his cause by making their own handmade "Child of God" headbands this week.

Davis did not wear the headband again in Weeks 4 or 5, telling NOLA.com that he didn't know that headbands counted as a uniform violation, but that the message was "something that's important to me so I'm just trying to figure out a way to still turn it into a way he can get glory from it."

The NFL fines players for wearing "personal messages" on their uniforms -- which has been the case since the days of Jim McMahon's infamous headbands with the Chicago Bears. However, the NFL did begin a "My Cause, My Cleats" program in 2016, which allows players to promote causes that are important to them with decorated cleats during Weeks 13-15.

The NFL often rescinds fines in these cases when a player demonstrates an understanding of the rule and total compliance with the rule moving forward.

When asked if the NFL let him know why he won the appeal, Davis joked, "I didn't get the specific reason why it was overturned. I mean, when you get something like that overturned and you get $7,000 coming back to you, you ain't asking too many questions."

But Davis said his agents had a list of six or seven points they discussed in the appeals process, "including not knowing about it, it not being something that was offensive, that I wasn't going to wear it again and that I was going to use it for charity. So I think all of that played a part in it."

Davis, 30, quickly became a respected leader and captain in New Orleans after joining the team in free agency last year. And he has been leading the Saints' pregame motivational chants in place of Drew Brees during Brees' absence over the past three weeks because of thumb surgery -- after asking for Brees' blessing.

The two teamed up this past Sunday for a throwback to the chant Brees used during the 2009 Super Bowl season. Davis, who began his career with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, is also a member of the NFL Players Coalition and has also been heavily involved in criminal justice reform in both New York and Louisiana.