Historically speaking, football isn’t known as a game where players are expected to be forward thinkers or even have simple, let alone meaningful, thoughts. They represent the manliest of men; void of all feelings, ready to rumble at a moments notice on and off the gridiron and absolutely, positively not supportive of anything remotely soft, feminine or gay. Well, either that perception was utterly incorrect or we’ve reached a new era of players, because Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo bucked all stereotypes and recently came under the spotlight for his support of same-sex marriage.
For years, Ayanbadejo has been an active LGBT ally and supporter of same-sex marriage, appearing in commercials and ads for California’s “NOH8” campaign.
But it wasn’t until last week that Ayanbadejo’s support of same-sex marriage gained national attention when a Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C. Burns Jr. sent a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, asking the team to silence Ayanbadejo’s support of the topic, according to The Big Lead.
“I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player,” Burns wrote. “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.”
But Ayanbadejo refused to be silent and offered an admirable response to Burns’ criticism.
“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!!!” Ayanbadejo tweeted.
Well, we commend any individual, especially football players, who are willing to share their thoughts about equality for all people and become ambassadors for change instead ambassadors for the typical NFL shenanigans.
And we’re not the only ones who feel that way about Ayanbadejo or LGBT rights. Check out what some other key figures has to say about the issue as well as other progressive athletes after the cut. – nicholas robinson