Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo is more than just a two-time all-Pro and 10-year veteran of the NFL; he’s also an advocate for same-sex marriage. One Maryland politician is upset about Ayanbadejo’s stance and has even written a letter to the Ravens trying to quiet the veteran player.
“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. 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.”
While the issue of gay marriage is a divisive one in the United States, Ayanbadejo is clearly exercising his rights as a private citizen, and NFL franchises don’t tend to stifle a player for their non-NFL interests so long as those interests don’t interfere with football or violate the league’s conduct policy. To date, anyway, the NFL doesn’t consider participating in ballot initiatives as violating any policy.
Wetzel’s column bashes Burns’ view that Ayanbadejo should keep quiet about same-sex marriage.
“I find it inconceivable that an elected politician is in favor of an employer overriding his collectively bargained labor agreement and suddenly, and illegally, taking action to inhibit political activity,” Wetzel wrote.
For his part, Ayanbadejo gave his response on Twitter.
“Football is just my job it’s not who I am,” Ayanbadejo wrote. “I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!!!”