Update: Maryland pro-equality footballer backed by team after delegate requested his silence
An American Football team who were asked by a Maryland delegate to take action against one of their players who stood up for equal marriage rights, has declined to do so.
The Baltimore Ravens rejected a call from Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, to reprimand Brendon Ayanbadejo, who recorded a video for a gay rights advocacy group last year.
Ravens’ General Manager Dick Cass issued a statement today saying, “We support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment,” UPI reported.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, a Baltimore Ravens player had recorded the video endorsement for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, back in October 2011.
Earlier this week, 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 his stance on equal marriage. In the letter, Mr Burns Jr said:
“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.”
Ayanbadejo said he was surprised “something like this would come up, especially from a politician,” and spoke about the difficulties he faced when he began supporting equal rights, but how that had changed:
“Surprisingly, Steelers fans, Patriots fans, Bengals fans, Cowboys fans, people who don’t even watch the NFL have all sent me messages saying that, ‘I now have a reason to watch football or even cheer for the Ravens because of your support for equality,’ so that feels good,”