BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A Maryland House of Delegates member has condemned the gay-marriage-friendly stance of a Baltimore Ravens player, demanding that the NFL team's owner "inhibit such expressions from your employee, and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions."
Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is reportedly the first professional athlete to endorse the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign.
In his Aug 29 letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, Emmett C Burns writes that he finds it "inconceivable that one of your players, Mr Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Ravens 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," Burns continues. "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."
A Yahoo! Sports report says the football team has declined to respond to the letter, but Ayanbadejo had no such qualms.
The Ravens linebacker fired back on Twitter: "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!!!"
“I’d have to thank him more than anything for bringing national attention to the issue,” Ayanbadejo added Friday.
And Ayanbadejo got a . . . uh . . . ringing endorsement of support from fellow NFL-er Chris Kluwe, a punter with the Minnesota Vikings, who lambasted Burns for using his position as an elected official to try to curtail free speech.
Kluwe writes, "Did you seriously just say that, as someone who's 'deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland'? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have 'no place in a sport'? I can't even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for 'beautiful oppressionism')."
Read the rest of Kluwe's rant.
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