New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis
Video press conference with local media
Monday, August 30, 2021
What is your message to New Orleans and everyone that's been affected by this?
"I think first it is getting everybody as safe as possible, anyone that's in (an) unfortunate situation, make sure we get them to safety. People who are in dangerous areas, trying to get everybody to safety, I think that's first. Making sure we're checking in on our friends and loved ones to make sure everybody is good. I think that's first. I think in times like this, it just reminds you the importance of living in (a) community and working together, and why unity is so important, because they're going to come times where we all need each other and this is one of those times where we have to lean on each other, and we'll all make it through it. And I think that's it, let's all just think outside of ourselves, understanding that, we all probably have something going on with our homes, with our materials, but they're just materials. But we need to make sure that all the people around us are okay and I just think that just comes from looking outside of ourselves and making sure that we are helping somebody that needs help and just being resilient. I think the good thing or the positive takeaway that we can have from this is the Gulf Coast community is a resilient one. It's endured natural disasters before and has recovered from it. And I think when you have something like that you know with confidence that you can make it through this and so I just think it's going to be all of us working together looking out for ourselves and our families, but not just ourselves, but those around us just working in community and unity and everybody just pitching in and trusting that we will make it through this together. Which I believe in our community and I know we will."
Is it tough to focus on football right now?
"It comes with the territory. I think first and foremost, when something like this happens, you have to prioritize and nothing goes in front of human life and safety. And so you check with your family and friends first and then make sure everyone around you are good and their friends and family. Once all the people are good and it comes down to the materials, the buildings and all those things and making sure that people are good. Once you know that everybody's good, from a health and wellness standpoint, it helps you process a little bit better because material things can always be replaced. And at the end of the day, we still have a job to do and the show goes on and nobody's going to be stopping the NFL season because the New Orleans Saints are going through this and so we still have a job to do, but too whom much is given, much is required. That's part of the territory. We have to be able to shift our minds (to football at those times) so tapping into reality and never losing sight of that, but also maintaining focus and everything required to get the job done. We go out here and practice in a couple hours we got to be locked in and won't be able to bring this into that space. But as we go in and out, we still have to stay and stay in tune with reality and understand that, people's lives have been seriously impacted and people that need a lot of help rebuilding and recovering from this. And so us not being there, we still I don't think you can understand the full ramifications of it. And most of us don't even know what our places look like and whatnot, but it just comes with the territory. So not only will be looked too and responsible for making sure that we stay on track, but also helping others.
How is your family holding up?
"My family is good. The organization did a good job of evacuating us and our family and so my entire family is here, my wife, my four kids, and one on the way. My kids think they are on vacation right now. They don't know, they're so young. So they're seeing a lot of their friends. And so they just run around and playing. I think they're not at the age where they can fully grasp, what a natural disaster is just yet and so my wife, of course, she's doing as best she can, but when you have to pick up and leave your home and certainly try to prepare for four kids. And then I checked in on all my extended family, everybody's good. A lot of people out of power, no significant damage and so yeah, everybody in my campus is doing well."
Was it hard to pack up the family and leave with such short notice?
"Yeah, that's the part (that is tough). I feel like we are all going to have to kind of just work together. Because there is so much unknown, the way the storm came in, and the way the evacuation process, everybody just kind of had to pick up and go. I remember calling my wife and say, hey, be at the hotel tonight, we got to get the kids ready and go out and we had dinner with Davis' (community event in Kenner) that Friday. And so leaving that and getting to the hotel so we could leave out on Saturday. Now getting everybody on planes and getting here (Dallas). Thank the Lord, just everybody can be in a safe place. But now being here and not knowing when we will be able to go back, what that is going to look like. So I know a lot of people are trying to juggle that and what that means for them. And so it can feel a lot like chaos, and I think it is just better that we all can lean on each other and just remind each other we are going to make it through (this). We just have to deal with it day by day, moment by moment and it's in times like this, because you don't necessarily have a plan and say it's going to be x, y, and z, kind of have to be able to call audibles and deal with the game on the flow. And so I think we get that a lot when you play a game like ours, but when you bring that into life, you know, it's trying to be able to manage that chaos with a bunch of other people that may not have had as many reps doing that. And so I think that's when our leadership can be brought to the forefront a little bit and we have to accept that."
How was it balances all those moving parts with the team and your family in such a short time?
"Yeah, as a husband and a father, I always have to think like, OK, how do I put them in the most successful or beneficial situation. And so when Sean (Payton) gave us the news we were going to be leaving and we didn't know what we were going to be going at first. I had to call and just say, hey, babe, we're going to be leaving town. So just prepare the kids because I don't know what the magnitude of it is. And so the biggest thing for us is my wife is due Oct. 7 and so how far can she fly? Or how close is she to where she can't (where) she's in a no fly zone? So that was the biggest part of having a weigh (of where to evacuate) now. But also, we have family in Mississippi, both our parents stay in Mississippi. So was it load up and send them to Mississippi, or was it bring them with me. And so a lot of that depended on where we stay. And so I know if we would have been in I think we talked about a couple places. But Dallas actually felt like right in her window, and she called a doctor and he said that she could fly to Dallas, she wouldn't have been able to drive here. So that was the biggest thing that we had to weigh was her. And I knew I wanted her and the kids with me. But at the same time, if it would have been more beneficial to have them drive to Mississippi, then that was going to be the case. But also, when the storm was coming in, you could kind of see it was kind of taking a similar path of Katrina, where it seemed like Katrina went right up I-55. And so it kind of seemed like, in Mississippi they would be without power, so we were not sure. So luckily, she could fly, so she packed a bag before she went and did dinner with Davis', I went and met with her, then my mom wasn't planning on coming. So I had to talk with her and see if she'd be able to come out just to be able to help with the kids, and whatnot. So it was a lot of managing and we had a few people at the house that had to take a different route. And so that was kind of all the different things that we were managing. But fortunately, we got everybody to safe locations, the families here, everybody's good. And now we just in limbo and I think we kind of knew that. I mean, the initial plan was to be going back on Wednesday and just hoping that it would just be power out. But at the same time, I think looking at the storm, you could kind of tell that it was going to be a significant impact. And so now we're here and so what does the future hold in store. And I think a lot of times you can take it for granted, we're in this hotel, we're safe, our kids are safe, my wife is safe, but everybody doesn't have this situation, right? So our heart is with them and just being grateful for what we have, but understanding and I think that's why we have to think about it. Like, you cannot just think about yourself and your loved ones, you got to think about everybody in these types of situations. Because you win when everybody wins, not just yourself. And so I think just in this Limbo, and trying to just wait out the information and know what the next steps are and continue to pray for those that may not be in as fortunate situations, hoping that that they get to more fortunate ones."
Is your mother in Dallas?
"Yeah, on my side my mom is here, our kids are here and one of our children's old nanny is here she was in town coming to visit and so she's here."
How do you balance all the different people that you're trying to help?
"I think there's so much information open in air, like I say everybody was getting their families and themselves situated the past couple of days. Sean (Payton) gave us an opportunity to do that. Now, it's back to work today and it's getting a lot of information on what the next 48-72 hours are going to look like and I think now, it's literally just you lead by example. There's not a lot to be said, because it's chaotic, and there's so much that's still in the air and so you don't have a lot of necessarily information to give. I think it's just by leading by example. You know we still have a mission at hand. We still have to work out, you still got to watch film, and you still have to attack practice with everything you got in you and so understanding that, when we play Green Bay, in I guess a little less than two weeks, they're not going to be taking it easy (on us). We're going what we're going through, so the mission still stays, and our coaches talk about evaluations are still going on. So guys still trying to make team and so for me, it's just leading by example and you have to be able to compartmentalize, you have to be able to shift in and out to still keep that humanity part about you to be tapped into what's going on around you. But when you step inside the arena of this game, you kind of have to go to a different place. And I think just you can show that better than you can tell it.
Are you looking forward to practicing today to get your mind off things?
"I don't know if I'm looking forward to it to get my mind off of it, I enjoy the game, I enjoy the process, I enjoy obstacles and adversities and pushing myself to focus in the middle of those obstacles after. I feel like that's when I do my best focus. When there's an obstacle, adversity in front of me that that feels insurmountable, because I know I can conquer it. That's my mentality and that pressing me pushes me into a more focused state and I enjoyed that. And so I think, when we go to practice and working out and all of it. It's the understanding that I can only be kind of calm in this situation, like, that's got to be the most beneficial place and the way I get there is becoming more focused and understanding that I have to put things in certain perspective. And so the perspective of knowing, my family is safe and healthy. So that's a reason to praise God, understanding that we are in a chaotic and limbo situation, but it is people going through way worse right now. My heart and my mind is with them. But also understanding that we have a job to do and that that mission can't be forsaken or lost because of what's going on around me. And so all of that is kind of going on. And it's, for lack of better words, it's almost like being in the eye of the hurricane. With so much going on around you the most peaceful place is in the middle, where's kind of calm and I think that's the place that I play the game from. And so I look forward to practice for that reason."
Do you feel like this team is better equipped than most teams in the league to overcome this with the leadership that's in place?
"By far, any team I've been on, I think this team is most equipped to handle this type of situation and scenario, just because of the type of culture that's here. And it's a bunch of guys who been in and experienced a bunch of situations and adversity. I think the New Orleans Saints, the entire culture, which is not just a team is the city is a resilient one. So it's built to almost handle and withstand these type of conditions, but also the uniqueness of this team, we've been in a lot of situations and one thing to realize is these guys know how to be ready come game time. And so I don't think there's any concern there, so from both standpoints, you know, culturally, we're built to be resilient in times like these. And so a lot of times being resilient, is just seeing it through and not backing down from it, or trying to avoid it, but just meeting the face on and seeing it through, and then from a team standpoint, a lot of times it just comes from being able to block out the noise and be prepared. And I think you've gone to battle with enough guys in this locker room to know that they know how to do that."