Saints' Demario Davis Speaks on Kaepernick, Goodell and NFL's $250M Donation

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 13, 2020

New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Demario Davis (56) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis believes the criticism of Colin Kaepernick and NFL players protesting during the national anthem has detracted from the movement's goal of spotlighting police brutality.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Davis was asked if now the timing was right for a team to sign Kaepernick and responded: 

"I think it's time for just everybody to admit...I think we all got it wrong on two fronts. Number one ... Colin was taking a stance when it wasn't cool to stand up to police brutality. But we also did a disservice to bringing an end to police brutality because we made it about Kaepernick, we made it about kneeling and we made it about the flag. And we're doing it again today."

Davis went on to say, "That's the line, 'Black Lives Matter,' because it's an outcry that we are losing our lives, and all we wanna talk about is the flag, we wanna talk about kneeling. We got it wrong with Colin Kaepernick; he took a stand, he did right. ... He was trying to turn attention to the issue, not to him."

Davis called the league's recent pledge to donate $250 million over 10 years to combat systemic racism the start of a "unique opportunity to be part of real change."

"With a contribution as large as $250 million, I think there are systems that can go into place to help⁠—along with black players⁠—to change black communities," he said. "So, working together on that, that's definitely a conversation that I want to be a part of."

Davis added that "of course" he would be willing to speak with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about how the league can best use its influence to promote social change. 

"One thing I can say about Roger is he has constantly tried to be a liaison in conversations between players and owners," the Saints linebacker said. "The extent of that conversation we will see going forward. But I think it's a tremendous opportunity, but that's just words so far, we'll see what kind of actions come from it."

Throughout his NFL career, Davis has been an outspoken advocate for social justice and equal rights. In 2019, he and cornerback Josh Norman posted bail for a college student who was detained for reading a poem critical of the United States' immigration policies to an attending board of supervisors. 

Davis, alongside New Orleans Pelicans guards Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick, recently formed a Social Justice Leadership Coalition with Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.