Maryland: Footballer who supported gay rights campaign attacked by delegate
An American Footballer who recorded a video supporting equal marriage in October 2011, has been attacked by a delegate of his state, who said that he should be punished for speaking out.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, a Baltimore Ravens player, recorded a video endorsement for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, an equal marriage advocacy group.
In the video, Mr Ayanbadejo said:
“I believe we should be doing everything we can to make Maryland families stronger, which is why I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples who want to make a lifetime commitment to each other,”
And it ends with him saying “Join me, it’s the right thing to do.”
Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, of Baltimore County, wrote to the club’s owner, Steven Disciotti, on the letterhead of Maryland House of Delegates saying that Mr Ayanbadejo should be reprimanded for stepping out of line.
The letter read:
“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.”
Critics have said that Ayanbadejo was not the first NFL player to stand up for equal marriage rights by any means, and have named several other players who have stood up this year alone.
Delegate Burns is vocally opposed to the campaign for equal marriage rights, and has been quoted to have said he thinks President Obama will lose this year’s election because of his pro-equal marriage stance.