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Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo Speaks Out on Gay Rights on CNN 'Starting Point': VIDEO


Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo appeared on CNN's Starting Point this morning to talk about the letter sent by Maryland lawmaker Emmett C Burns Jr. asking Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to stop Ayanbadejo from speaking out about gay rights and marriage equality. Burns backtracked over the weekend, but has drawn national attention to the issue.


CNN contributor Richard Socarides asked Ayanbadejo what the response has been from other players:

There's still some issues that people don't understand, some fundamental issues when it comes to marriage equality.  I think the most problem that players have is the tie between religion and equal rights.  You have to make it, you know, not a religious issue.  It's really just an equal rights issue.  And we're just trying to get approval from every state for each person to marry and not in a church.  We're not going to change anything religiously.  And people have their rights religiously and religious freedom as well.  We're trying to get letters from every state that people can have a marriage document and that's recognized in every state.
So once you get over that barrier, guys say, hey, love is love and you should be able to marry who you love.  It's really a changing of the guard in the football community because this even 12 months ago when I was doing op-eds for marriage equality, I would still hear certain snickering in the background.  I think we've changed the tide and come a long way in a short period of time.  And I'm really excited that my cohorts and my teammates and my team, the Baltimore Ravens, and the city and everybody is really supporting and gathering behind me in the cause to treat people fairly all in the name of love.

Also appearing in the segment is former professional football player Wade Davis, who has come out since leaving the NFL. Davis is asked if the League's ready for a gay player.

Says Davis:

"I think we're definitely ready.  The NFL as a whole has made so many great steps and strides.  We have players like Brendon coming out [in support] and the e-mail Chris sent as well.  I think the tide is changing.  I think we're making such great strides.  The NFL brings in players now to do, like, town hall meetings, to talk to other players.  The tide is definitely changing."

Davis says he "can't answer" if he knows of any current players are gay, to which Will Cain interjects: "I'd say that's a yes."


MD Lawmaker Asks Ravens Owner to Curb Brendon Ayanbadejo's Support for Equality [tlrd]
Ravens Player Ayanbadejo Responds to Request That He STFU About Gay Rights [tlrd]
Vikings Punter  Kluwe Comes Out Swinging in Defense of Ayanbadejo and Gay Rights [tlrd]
Vikings Punter  Kluwe, Defender of Marriage Equality, Appears on 'The Ed Show' [tlrd]
Anti-Gay MD Lawmaker Burns  Backs Down from Bid to Silence Brendon Ayanbadejo [tlrd]

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  1. The support from Ayanbadego and Chris Kluwe is fantastic. I just hope the closet gay players take it to heart and come out. Hopefully the NFL culture is truely changing and it is not all smoke and mirrors. Its one thing to say you are ok with a gay guy in the locker room; its another to actually be ok with a gay guy in the lockerroom.

    Posted by: KT | Sep 10, 2012 10:50:03 AM

  2. did you see the completely jacked up spelling of Ayanbadejo's name? CNN be slipping all the time now.

    Posted by: Eric | Sep 10, 2012 10:57:46 AM

  3. warmed my heart and gave me a boner. happy monday! WERK!

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Sep 10, 2012 11:10:35 AM

  4. "Hopefully the NFL culture is truely changing and it is not all smoke and mirrors. Its one thing to say you are ok with a gay guy in the locker room; its another to actually be ok with a gay guy in the lockerroom"

    Gay men have a massive hangover after centuries of being excluded from "the boy's club" and being treated with contempt and hostility, unremittingly so, by straight men. So I can understand the skepticism expressed in the statement above. Just as I can understand why that unremitting hostility resulted in gay men latching onto straight women, which resulted in the culture of effeminacy that has been characteristic of so many gay men for so long.

    I do think that straight men are serious about changing their attitudes towards homosexuality, in part for their own reasons, which have to do with a desire to be emotionally and socially freer with other men than the traditional straight male culture has allowed them to be, given that any such freedom was associated with homosexuality and therefore cause for losing one's "man-card."

    My only fear is that as men in general change and the male culture becomes less and less homophobic, that "gay" men will seize the day and change, themselves, rather than remaining mired in the past, the past being defined by the culture of effeminacy and attachment to women rather than to other men.

    It is a golden opportunity and it would be tragic if we don't take advantage of it to re-claim our masculinity and become men again rather than languishing in the low self-esteem and social dysfunction that being pseudo-women entails.

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 10, 2012 12:24:11 PM

  5. In the fourth paragraph in the comment above, that should have read...."that "gay" men will NOT seize the day....


    Posted by: Rick | Sep 10, 2012 12:25:41 PM

  6. I, however, have never seized the day as even though I'm in my fifties I'm still completely closeted and unable to put a face and name to my statements, and any form of identity as an openly gay male. I'm not openly gay, I'm totally closeted, so take whatever I say with a big tub of bath salts.

    This is why I'm so angry at those guys that my dad told me are "effeminate" - they have the strength and courage to live openly-gay lives, and date, and fall in love, and be real and I don't.

    Basically, I hate them for not only being fem, but for being stronger than I'll ever be while also being fem. It really hurts me because I was raised to think that those diva-worshipping fem guys were wimps but since they're Out and Proud and I'm not it sort of proves that I'm actually the wimp.

    I don't really like dealing with reality. So, you'll see me here every day living vicariously through an anonymous internet handle. But one day I'll do what my father always wanted me to do and die a protracted and lonely death.

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 10, 2012 12:32:51 PM

  7. And the comment above beginning with "I, however....." by Kiwi acting as an impostor using my name demonstrates precisely what I mean when I talk about gay men remaining mired in the culture of effeminacy and attachment to women rather than recognizing the psychological damage they are suffereing from for what it is and changing accordingly.

    If most gay men do that, then they will never be truly accepted by other men, nor should they be......and the opportunity to become accepted members of mainstream society will be lost.

    Granted, some such individuals are going to be so deeply damaged that they are beyond help, but hopefully they represent the minority and they will be left behind and pitied as relics of the oppressive past, as the rest of the population leaves the past behind.....

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 10, 2012 12:44:41 PM

  8. To see an example of the deeply damaging effect of "effeminacy" , think about me. I'm a grown adult man and I'm so afraid of people thinking I'm effeminate that I refuse to live an openly gay life. In any way.

    Those fem guys live openly gay lives, and I don't. I come on here every day to anonymously complain about them.

    My anger also stems from the fact that no matter how manly I may think I am, I dont yet have the balls that those fem guys have. You know, the balls to live a life without fear. They live and breathe and interact with others in the real world, and I type anonymously about how angry I am about it.

    While I would love nothing more than to prove Little Impostor and others wrong by showing you all how butch and manly I am, the fact is that not only am I neither butch nor manly, I'm simply not even openly gay.

    I'm a closeted adult. Who hates himself. My father was right, he should have kicked my mother harder when she was pregnant with me. I mean, he kicked her in the stomach, and it messed me up, but he didn't kick hard enough.

    Now, to prove that I'm really a strong tough manly man I'm going to not prove it. Because if I've learned anything from the men I consider my role models, facts and evidence and courage are for extremist liberals.

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 10, 2012 12:52:03 PM

  9. P.S. Don't you all agree that my coming here every day to anonymously complain about effeminacy proves how tough and strong and manly and ballsy I am?

    Isn't the mark of a real man his ability to make anonymous comments on the internet?

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 10, 2012 12:53:09 PM

  10. Oh shut up, Little Impostor you pathetic liberal effeminate queen. While you and your fellow effeminates are out worshipping Lady Caca real manly men like me are changing the way gay men are seen by commenting anonymously about it on the internet. That's what changes the world, not coming out or being visible, but by coming onto a gay-themed website and anonymously complaining about you effeminate limp-wristed sissies.

    And stop asking me for evidence of who I am like the little harpy you are. You know damn well I can't put a face to my comments because I'm not out of the closet yet and you should be more sensitive.

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 10, 2012 1:00:34 PM

  11. The fake Rick posts are genius. It almost makes it worth having that neanderthal troll around. Almost.

    Posted by: Ryan | Sep 10, 2012 2:21:00 PM

  12. Lol at Rick (not the fake one)

    No matter what the subject is, you manage to twist it into a case of blaming women for all things bad. Seriously, that's some impressive mental gymnastics you've got going there:
    The macho culture of football rejects gays because gays are 'sissies' -> gays seek to women and become 'sissies' -> it's women's fault that macho cultures reject gays.

    Yeah... want to try that again, Rick?

    And if Jason should pop by: No, it's not lesbians fault either.

    Posted by: Tanoka | Sep 10, 2012 4:17:46 PM

  13. rick - let me guess, big jonathan vilma fan?

    Posted by: jenn | Sep 10, 2012 4:38:44 PM

  14. Nice story on NPR this afternoon.

    Posted by: Alan | Sep 10, 2012 5:44:01 PM

  15. Oops - wrong URL

    Posted by: Alan | Sep 10, 2012 5:44:21 PM

  16. It's great to have Brendon speaking out for us as a straight man but even more so he's an INTELLIGENT straight man. He's cool, calm and educated. He is an asset to our cause. What a great man !

    Posted by: Icebloo | Sep 10, 2012 6:10:53 PM

  17. @Kiwi...very cute impersonation. Love it. Unfortunately, hard as you might can't approach "his" lunacy. Keep it up adds a touch of humor to an otherwise serious issue. Love you...hate "him".

    Posted by: PAUL B. | Sep 10, 2012 6:20:08 PM

  18. As an Irish-American, I am so proud of Barack Obama an Irish-American/Kenyan and Brendon Ayanbadejo an Irish-American/Nigerian.For such a little country that Irish blood courses through the veins of so many outstanding people. I admit that I am a LITTLE ethnocentric.

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 10, 2012 10:58:23 PM

  19. Rick is an assh*le. A bigger assh*le is the person who is posting in his name. I have an idea who it is but don't yet have the TESTICLES to identify that little person.

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 10, 2012 11:58:37 PM

  20. As proud as I am of Brendon's Irish-American roots, I think that they should get another spokesman for equality. I CAN'T concentrate on serious issues while looking at Brendon. Could he possibly be any hotter? Really, is it just me?

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 11, 2012 1:19:09 AM

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