Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo hasn’t tried to hide his support of gay marriage. Now a Maryland politician has publicly blasted Ayanbadejo and demanded that the Ravens muzzle their All-Pro.
Ayanbadejo’s public support for gay marriage issues has taken the form of columns for his hometown, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the Huffington Post. He also made a video for the Marylanders for Marriage Equality late last year.
Ayanbadejo’s political stands haven’t been relegated to gay marriage. He’s also used his celebrity as an NFL player to campaign for less controversial legislative issues such as requiring schools to monitor kids’ physical activities and promoting proper nutrition.
With legalized gay marriage in Maryland hinging on a November ballot initiative, state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, has called out Ayanbadejo, going so far as to send a letter — originally obtained by WBAL-TV — to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti:
“I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player.” “Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other.
“Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement,” Burns continued. “I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.
“I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”
Ravens spokesman Patrick Gleason told Michael S. Rosenwald of The Washington Post: “We are aware of the letter. Other than that, we will not have any further comment.”
Ayanbadejo used Twitter to thank followers for supporting his views on gay marriage and other political causes.
Football is just my job it's not who I am. I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!!!—
Brendon Ayanbadejo (@brendon310) September 05, 2012