New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis joined Sports Illustrated host Robin Lundberg to discuss NFL players demanding a revised statement from the league on the issues related to systemic racism. Davis applauded the leadership of athletes across America and said black athletes have drawn the line and will not allow things to continue the way they have for so long and will also demand others join them in that battle and hold them accountable moving forward.
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Demario Davis: Well, I think important for us as people to grow and realize how to deal with what's real versus how we feel. In locker rooms and teams, reason, why there's so much unity, is because we understand, no matter how we feel, no matter what emotions we have going on in our heart, there is a greater mission in front of us and that's to go out into win a game and to work. So we put that aside and we come together and work towards a common goal. And that's what we have to do here. We can't allow how we feel to move us to different topics and conversations. We have to deal with what's real and what's real is racism has existed in America for over 400 years. That same knee that was on George Floyd's neck is the knee that's been on the neck of black people for over 400 years. And it's time to remove that, it's a shame that we have to deal with this in our lifetime because this could have very easily been dealt with before any of us were born. But it's not. So we've got to start dealing with it. Deal with it now and 2020. And hopefully, in four or five years it can be gone and we can be on to the other things, you know?
Robin Lundberg: You know, there's two words I think people like to use as sort of a shield, Demario. One is politics, right? They'll say, you know, I don't want to talk politics when this is a human rights issue. You know, the other will be unity when they say unity to try to make it go away. But they're not actually going out and doing the things needed for that unity. Do you see a unified front amongst your peers, amongst the NFL players? Because we saw Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, and others demanding the NFL make a statement explicitly condemning police brutality and admit wrongdoing in silencing players?
Demario Davis: Well, I applaud, I applaud the leadership of athletes across America in all sports, I think this has been a this has been a time where the black athletes have drawn the line that we're no longer going to allow these attacks to happen in our community, without it being addressed, without us demanding to fix these issues that have gone on for far too long. And didn't those black athletes begin to call out their teammates saying, don't call me a teammate, don't call me a brother unless you're going to stand beside me when I stand up to this injustice that's been happening to me and my people for far too long. And that that that response and also every person that's out there start to do the same thing. Everybody black in America stood up and said, you know what it's time to draw the line. They demanded their friends, they demanded their coworkers. Don't call me a friend. Don't call me an ally. Don't call me a colleague if you're not going to stand for me when I tell you I'm tired of people being killed and we're not going to stand for it any longer and people responded. People, all of a sudden had this global awakening and moves towards a global outcry. You know what? This is a problem and we need to fix it. We need to deal with it. And that's why you have millions of people, most of the people in the street aren't even black. All the other different ethnic groups that are out there, standing beside black people specifically. If we're not trying to divert the conversation to anything else other than Black Lives Matter and we need to address the issue of the oppression that's being placed over them. And now it's time to move to solutions in eradicating racism from the threads of the fabric of our country.
Robin Lundberg: And I know you're doing your part not just by speaking out now, but also I mentioned before you had the Man of God masks sales that are going to the families to some of the victims. Can you elaborate a bit on that?
Demario Davis: Yeah, I always try to do my part by action versus words. Yeah. You know, it's not a time to be silent. Words matter but the most important thing is action. I always want my action to align, align with my words, always want my method to align with my message. I'm a big person of practice which you preach. So that's me doing it. Money won't change anything it won't that's not, that's not answer. It is a heart issue that we have to deal with and it's a structural issue. There is no justice that we can bring to these families. You know the justice will be bringing their family members back and we can't do that. The best thing we can try to do is honor them and that's what I'm trying to do, and try to ease the burden a little bit. That's all we can do but to honoring these families with their life will stand for something. If it allowed us to move towards change in our country in a conversation that we that is long overdue. Not just the conversation is long overdue, action is long overdue. We need to change policies that allow racism. We need to eradicate symbols that stand for racism. We need to eradicate people who secretly, we need to call out people who secretly hold on to racism, racist thoughts, and point them out and we need to press forward that together until we have a change.
Robin Lundberg: 56manofgod.com. You can check it out for the Man of God masks. I referenced it. Also, he has a book "The Unsuccessful Champion Finding True Victory in the Midst of Adversity." And you can tell from his attitude today how he did that. Demario Davis, man, I really appreciate your message and your time.
Demario Davis: Thank you. Man, you guys be blessed.