Baltimore Ravens Player Brendon Ayanbadejo Responds to Lawmaker’s Request That He Shut Up About Gay Rights

Yesterday I posted a letter from Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C Burns jr. to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti asking Bisciotti to curb linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo from speaking out in support of LGBT rights and marriage equality.

AyanbadejoSaid Burns in the letter: "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."

Now, Ayanbadejo says he'd "have to thank him more than anything for bringing national attention to the issue," USA Today reports.

Ayanbadejo expressed surprise that Burns was trying to remove someone's free speech rights: "For somebody to try to take that away from me I was pretty surprised, from a politician especially. People get fired for saying the things that the delegate said. People lose their jobs for discrimination…I think that whoever voted for him has their right to vote for who they believe represents their values. And if he represents their values, he's the best person for the job. If Obama represents the best values for the country, he deserves the job."

Added Ayanbadejo: "Its an equality issue. I see the big picture."

Comments

  1. GregV says

    Should we expect to see all the nuts who lined up for Chik-Fil-A sandwiches (not because they have anything against gays but only to support “free speech,” of course) to now line up to donate money for marriage equality in Maryland?

  2. RxR says

    What a great person you are Mr Ayanbadejo. More power to you and to all of us for standing up to the voices and policies of minority oppression, as our president said at the DNC, it’s about citizenship for ALL OF US. Equality is happening we will NOT be turned back and now I’m an even bigger RAVENS fan :)

  3. Icebloo says

    I don’t think the idiot politician expected the football player to be more intelligent than him. The more I read about Brendon the more impressed I am.

    If only all straight men were as comfortable with their own sexuality as Brendon is with his the world would be a better place.

    Too bad the useless politician is so much of a pussy that he’s still threatened by someone else who is different than him. I hope he gets fired or loses his seat at the next election. If you can’t represent ALL your voters you shouldn’t be allowed to have the job !

  4. Scott Johansen says

    Actually representative Burns could an very well should face consequences for his actions. It would be one thing for Burns to express disdain for gay marriage and criticize someone else for speaking in favor of gay marriage, but to directly contact the employer of a citizen and blatantly ask they be reprimended by their employer for expressing their constitutional mandated rights in free speech; and for you to do so as an elected official violates many a codes. It will be very interesting to see How the local community in the metropolitan area handles this. I’m looking at you– LGBT organizers

  5. says

    If LGBT leaders and organizers were smart, they would use this incident to our advantage. A well liked talented football player speaking out for our rights, and a politician attempting to silence him…. This is public relations GOLD for us, if played right. I’d wish our organizers were smart and would shed more media attention on this case. HRC, Equality MD, GLAAD, where are you?

  6. Lipstick Diva says

    I absolutely agree with others above. Conservatives and NOM used a former Miss California as a fake martyr and played the sumpathy card in the press. They are so calculating in promoting hysteria to the public that gays want to ban freedom of speech, well guess whats happening here with this pro marriage equality football player? Now THIS is a real freedom of speech storyline.

    Here’s to hoping gay groups to push for more media attention on this story and prove just how intolerant Conservatives can be.

  7. says

    I think where our side fails is, we’re too weak in publicizing these very raw stories.

    If the roles were reversed and a politician contacted the employer of an anti gay football player for expressing viewpoints against gay marriage- CNN, Foc News and every single news outlet would have a live news conference with every single conservative leader lined up giving a speech on national television painting us as bad, in an attempt to get people to be more understanding of their side.

    We as a gay community however are so short sighted, we’ll see a picture perfect story like this, and other than post snarky comments about Burns on gay blogs… We’ll let it go, he’ll never face a backlash, the conservative right wont have anything to answer to, and we’ll collectively forget about this in a few days.

    THAT my friends is the difference between the two groups (conservatives vs. LGBT) they are just more savvy and calculating than we are, and that is unfortunate

  8. Blu Bulbs says

    It always seemed to me that the religious conservative camp is far more mobilized and galvanized as a base than we are. I agree that if this story were the other way around, it would be a national public outcry on how liberal gays want to destroy freedoms and rights from religious folks. Here we have a very popular football player getting badgered by a political figure who says this football star is a stain and goes so far to say he doesn’t represent any of his constituents and want the NFL to make sure he never speaks up on this topic again. How is this not being harpooned by our side and made a bigger deal of? Seriously, this is something worth reacting to and getting the public’s attention for because they’d sympathize.

  9. Kyle L. says

    Roughly 98% of the thousands of comments I’ve been reading about this incident on various, straight, sites have all been overwhelmingly in favor of ayanbadejo the Raven’s athlete. The comments are virtually all from heterosexuals who get it and so many seem infuriated by the letter and can’t believe someon from Baltimore who reps them sent it.
    I agree though that it needs to be made aware of to the masses. Here’s to hoping it gets out there because it’s clear people are on ayanbadejo’s side on this one and that would be subtle victories for us

  10. says

    And yet…. Not ONE word (still!) from any of the dozens of thousands of LGBT groups around the country publically speaking out against this and publically supporting Ayanbadejo. Is it not pathetic that a lovely heterosexual is far more passionate and vocal about our rights than our overpaid (and deathly silent) LGBT ‘leaders’ ??? Speaks volumes

  11. Two-Dads says

    Guys, instead of just buying his jerseys: actually facebook and tweet ALL your friends about this situation. Not only will it garner more fans for this brave footballer, BUT more importantly, will expose anti gay forces as the intolerant souls they are and potentially gain more allies for us by showcasing that even heterosexuals get the bashing of anti gay forces for so much as exercising their rights. As others have noted, our leaders are shamefully silent in this story and responding to it, so times to expose it to all our straight friends and show them what a fine man Ayanbadejo is and what a freedom crusher Burns and Conservatives truly can be.

  12. CJ says

    It’s not right that Brandon Ayanbadejo is getting slammed by an elected leader and the only person to defend him- as he defends our community- is him and another straight athlete. There should be far more, and louder gay, lesbian, bisexual coallitions coming out to his defense and giving a wise rebuttal to Burns.

  13. Mike says

    Anti-gay Christians want to take away your freedom of speech, to speak freely about LGBT people, they are already working hard and spending millions of dollars to take away your right to have a gay marriage. These anti-gay Christian are the new Nazis who want to destroy anything that they do not like. Wake up America they are trying just like the mad man Hitler and his anti-gay Catholic Nazis did in World War Two, and they got away with murdering millions of Jews and Gays until the good guys stopped them.

  14. sugarrhill says

    I find it fascinating that this NFL player gets the ball rolling, but most of the comments are on the his white counterparts post? Oh Towleroad, never change!

  15. Jon says

    Did anyone find a site that sells noncounterfeit Ayanbadejo shirts? Towleroad: can you get the supplier as an advertiser? I could not find his shirt on the Raven’s site.

  16. Freigh Reign says

    Sugarhill,
    You are nothing but a NOM puppet eating right out of their hands. Ignorant black folks like you are getting stringed along by your puppet masters (NOM) because you’re so narrow you cant think for yourself. The only thing causing the massive tension between out two communities is race baiting, WHITE hating, homophobic pieces of sht like you. You need to die before homophobia is truly eradicated you piece of dirt.

  17. says

    Sugarhill-
    Man- what a miserable, lonesome, bitter, jaded and yes… Racist existence you must have where your whole life revolves around looking for racism where there isn’t any, or manufactoring it to fit your anti gay agenda. Tell me, how does it feel every day to wake up convicing your paranoia that everyones out to get you?

  18. Scott Johansen says

    SUGAR HILL

    The fact that that’s the only thing you could contribute to a heavy story like this speaks volumes about your own homophobia and racism toward caucasian gay people. And don’t you ever convince yourself that because you’re a black gay man you’re incapable of being both homophobic and prejudice toward others race. Many of us know that’s not true. I agree with the poste above, wanna know who stifles relations between the black & gay community? Grab yourself a mirror bozo.

    Back to Ayanbadejo: marvelous job. Our community leaders need to loudly get involved in this story and champion those who defend us while challenging those like that MD politician.

  19. Scott Johansen says

    SUGAR HILL

    The fact that that’s the only thing you could contribute to a heavy story like this speaks volumes about your own homophobia and racism toward caucasian gay people. And don’t you ever convince yourself that because you’re a black gay man you’re incapable of being both homophobic and prejudice toward others race. Many of us know that’s not true. I agree with the poste above, wanna know who stifles relations between the black & gay community? Grab yourself a mirror bozo.

    Back to Ayanbadejo: marvelous job. Our community leaders need to loudly get involved in this story and champion those who defend us while challenging those like that MD politician.

  20. says

    What a beautiful man. Both inside and out. I hope everyone is tweeting him support and thank yous! And telling him that you’re buying his shirts because you’re now a new fan. He’s on twitter. Say thank you. I already did several times

  21. Seattle mike says

    He needs to be celebrated for this.

    The elected official needs to be shunned (where’s the backlash?)

    This guy is truly phenomenal for this.

    And Sugarhill, aka Maggie Gallgher, pick and choose your hysteria battles. You over played your cards with this one and got called out for your calculating lame little ploy.

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