Linebacker Demario Davis has embraced his role as one of the Jets leaders since his return to the team this year after one year in Cleveland. So it was no surprise he was among the dozen or so NFL players who attended Tuesday’s meeting in Manhattan with owners and league officials to discuss some of the social issues that have prompted various forms of protest around the league.
Davis termed the meeting “very productive” and went so far as to suggest “we’re very near a time when the protest will end.” He didn’t want to elaborate much. Here’s his full statement on the subject.
“I was at the meeting [Tuesday]. I would say the talks were very productive. It’s encouraging to me as an athlete to see so many athletes and owners so concerned about our country and pushing in the right direction. We have a tremendous platform in the NFL, and to whom much is given much is required. That’s why we can’t just play football. We have to help push our country in the right direction. And it’s encouraging to see the owners and the athletes wanting to do that. I think we’re working together. We’re working very hard at doing that.
“The things that I see is our owners and our players have a tremendous love and devotion for our country, and it’s neat to see. I do think we’re very near a time when the protest will end and athletes and owners will be at the forefront of social change in our country in a positive manner.”
It was from the heart. He didn’t read from the script, and when asked if his teammates were interested in his report, Davis’ reply was “Miami.”
Apparently, there were no decisions or policies implemented, but the Jets aren’t going to get caught up in the political chatter, and Davis made sure of it.
Truth is, this climate of protest has worked pretty well for the Jets. If you’ll recall the protests went viral in Week 3 with players throughout the league taking a knee during the anthem after being called “SOBs” by President Trump. The Jets elected to stand and lock arms with CEO Christopher Johnson front-and-center on the sideline. Not one Jets player sat or took a knee. All were linked arm-in-arm.
The home team went out and whipped the Dolphins, 20-6. The Jets held Miami to just 30 yards rushing and 1-of-12 third-down conversions.
They jumped on the “we’re unified” theme that week and haven’t gotten off it since. It has become their rallying cry.
“Whatever the solution is, there has to be unity,” Davis said in Week 3. “That’s the message we wanted to send. It’s going to take all of us together to find the solutions to the problems. No matter what happens we’re going to work through it together. When you’re working together, nothing is impossible.”
That’s how the Jets have gotten to 3-3 heading into a rematch with the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. Some teams haven’t navigated the protests as well as the Jets, who could have been more in the spotlight considering owner, Woody Johnson, is a Trump supporter and U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Instead, the Jets have made unity their strength. Beating the Dolphins was the first of three straight wins, a streak snapped by a gritty, 24-17 loss to the Patriots last week. A rematch with the Dolphins should be a good barometer of how much the Jets have grown. Miami has won its past two games — winning against the Titans, 16-10, and last week at Atlanta, 20-17.
“They’re going to be a different team just like we’re going to be a different team,” Davis said on Wednesday. “Hopefully, you get better as the year goes on. That’s what you strive to do.”
The unified Jets will have all arms linked in Miami again. A gesture of awareness has become a good luck charm.