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NFL Player Fined for Wearing ‘Man of God’ Headband: The Key to Transformative Courage

Arizona, Oakland, Green Bay, Buffalo, and Indianapolis all scored upset wins in yesterday’s pro football action. Baseball’s playoffs continue, hockey has started, and basketball is around the corner.

But an NFL game played on September 22 is on my mind this morning. When the New Orleans Saints played the Seattle Seahawks, Saints linebacker Demario Davis wore a headband matching the team’s colors bearing the words, “Man of God.”

Here’s the problem: NFL rules prohibit players from displaying social, political, patriotic, memorial, or charitable messages during games. Even though his headband wasn’t visible beneath his helmet, Davis was fined $7,017 for a first-offense uniform violation.

Davis sees the fine as a positive: “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 going to be in control of the whole situation. We’re still all good.” 

In fact, Davis plans to market the headbands and donate the proceeds to charity or to a Christian organization. “I’m hoping to put it out where fans can wear it,” he said, “and I can wear it through them.” 

“I’ve never been hesitant with my faith.” 

I’ve often said that God redeems all he allows. If the NFL had not fined Demario Davis for his “Man of God” headband, we would probably not be talking about his faith today. 

For Davis, such redemption is his life story. He has made his priorities clear: “I put God first, I put my family second and I put football third.”

Growing up in Mississippi, Davis says he got into some trouble and got those following him into trouble as well. But in his second season at Arkansas State University, he came to faith in Christ. He spent a summer going through evangelism training in Tampa, Florida, and continues to share Christ every way he can. 

“I’ve never been hesitant with my faith,” he told a reporter. He seeks to help his fellow players: “Life beats you up pretty bad. People need to see hope. Having faith is so much about seeing something that’s not there, having hope that something better is to come. 

“That’s always my message. No matter what your situation is, it can always be better.” 

“There are three things you cannot buy.” 

Demario Davis is right: “People need to see hope.” Every person we know needs to know the Savior we know. 

In author James Clear’s latest newsletter, I followed a link to a fascinating statement by Italian designer and billionaire Brunello Cucinelli: “There are three things you cannot buy. Fitness: You have to keep fit, whether you’re rich or not. Diet: You cannot pay someone to be on a diet for you. I think that diet is the biggest sacrifice in my life. Then, looking after your soul. No one can possibly treat your soul but you yourself.” 

Unfortunately, Cucinelli believes that treating your soul “is something you can do through culture and philosophy.” He knows the problem. Now he needs to know the solution. 

“We need the power of God more than prosperity.” 

It can be challenging to give people what they need rather than what they want. A doctor delivering a cancer diagnosis, an attorney telling her client about his severe legal challenges, a father giving his son “tough love”—it’s never easy to deliver hard news. 

It’s difficult to identify a moral issue today in which our culture is aligned with the word of God. From abortion to euthanasia, sexuality to marriage, racism to poverty, our society is clearly and tragically going the wrong way. 

To stand up for our Father and our faith requires that we wear a “Man of God” headband over every dimension of our lives. Such courage can be challenging, but the higher the goal, the harder the climb. Jonathan Edwards noted: “The way to Heaven is ascending; we must be content to travel uphill, though it be hard and tiresome, and contrary to the natural bias of our flesh.” 

The good news is that our Lord will give us the power we need to fulfill his purpose for our lives and witness. In fact, his purpose cannot be fulfilled without his power. 

Pastor Jim Cymbala: “We need the power of God more than prosperity. The word of God can only be carried on by the power of God. The church is a spiritual organism fighting spiritual battles: only spiritual power can make it perform as God ordained.” 

“Never have we seen such devotion” 

Will you seek the power of God for the purpose of God in your life today? Will you wear a “Man of God” headband over your day? 

Such courageous submission will empower us to impact our culture in ways we can neither imagine nor predict. 

Writing on October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi in the United States, David Vryhof of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist observed: “Saint Francis freely gave himself—all that he had and all that he was—to God, asking only to be an instrument of God’s peace in the world. He wanted nothing for himself, all for God.” 

As a result, according to Br. Vryhof, “Never have we seen such devotion, never have we witnessed such profound joy, never have we been touched by so deep a love.” 

St. Francis and Demario Davis are on the same team. Let’s join them.


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Publication Date: October 7, 2019

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images/Chris Graythen/Staff

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