Brandon’s Demario Davis has become one of the NFL’s most productive linebackers for the New Orleans Saints.

Yes, New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis answers, he was dismayed Wednesday when he heard Drew Brees’ statement that Brees would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States” for any reason.

Brees’ statement seemed a not-so-veiled disparagement of his fellow NFL players who, in protest of police brutality against black people, have taken a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Brees’ statement was widely criticized, coming amid international marches and protests of the police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

Rick Cleveland

“Drew and I have had a conversation about it,” Davis, a Brandon native, said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “I’ll keep what was said between us.”

But, having said that, Davis immediately praised Brees, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer, for the quarterback’s public apology Wednesday morning. In an Instagram post, Brees said his Tuesday remarks “were insensitive and totally missed the mark on what we are facing right now as a country.”

“I believe Drew’s apology is a model of the turn-around that needs to happen in this country right now,” Davis said. “For Drew to say that he missed the mark, that his remarks were insensitive, and that he’s going to start listening and learning from the black community and learning what he can do to help – that’s what needs to happen in America right now. That’s a model for all of America. That’s what we need. That’s true leadership. That’s taking ownership.”

Drew Brees, speaking at Mississippi College in 2019.

Brees and Davis are two of the unquestioned leaders, on and off the field, of one of the NFL’s best teams. When Brees was injured and missed games during the 2019 season, Davis stepped into the quarterback’s role of leading the Saints’ pregame sideline chants meant to fire up the team. Both are also leaders in their communities.

Brees and his wife, Brittany, have given and raised millions for New Orleans and Louisiana causes. Davis has been active not only in Louisiana and in Mississippi but across the country for several different causes. Davis has given his time and money to causes such as immigrant rights at the Mexico-U.S. border, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as well as his own crusade against police brutality. In Jackson, Davis has raised money for St. Dominic Memorial Hospital, where his mother worked, with the sell of his “Man of God” bandannas.

Davis has said, many times, that as long as he has the platform of a popular pro football star on one of the NFL’s most popular teams, he plans to use it to work to make the world a better, kinder place. “I don’t care how much the world hates, I will always choose love,” he wrote on his Instagram account two years ago.

Davis, 31, spoke Wednesday from his home in Nashville. He also has a home in Brandon and splits his off-season time between Brandon, Nashville and New Orleans. He and his wife are the parents of three young children.

Davis spoke passionately in support of what he called “the worldwide protest of racism and the systematic suppression of black people.”

“The time is now,” Davis said. “We can’t get this wrong this time. This has gone on for 400 years in America. It’s time to stand up for black lives and putting an end to racism, which is woven into the fabric of our country and our state. It’s going to take all of us, no matter our color, our politics or anything else, doing our part, person by person, bit by bit. We need to fix what is wrong in Mississippi and around the country. We have to take a look deep down inside of ourselves. Every one of us.”

Davis went on: “I love my state. I am proud to represent Mississippi. Racism has affected and impacted Mississippi as much or more than it has any other place. It’s going to take all of us, doing our best, to fix it.”

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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.