Brendon Ayanbadejo | Emmett C Burns | Football (American) | Maryland | News

Maryland Lawmaker Asks Baltimore Ravens Owner to Curb Brendon Ayanbadejo's Support for Marriage Equality


Baltimore Ravens player Brendon Ayanbadejo (above), an outspoken supporter of marriage equality who has appeared in videos for HRC and Marylanders for Marriage Equality, is being targeted by Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C. Burns Jr., who has asked Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to stop him from talking about it.

BurnsSays the letter, according to

"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.," Burns wrote. "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."

Maryland voters face a ballot measure this November that will decide whether the state's marriage equality law, which was passed by the legislature, will take effect.

UPDATE 1: Ayanbadejo responds.

UPDATE II: Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe comes out swinging in defense of Ayanbadejo and gay rights.

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  1. So how again is the U.S different than some fundmentalist regions when we have politicians like this man
    A.) trying to silence the free speech of a citizen
    B.) getting in touch with this citizens employers so he can be punished for exercising his free speech rights
    C.) wants to deny basic civil rights to millions of gay citizens
    D.) writes a public letter to dehumanize gays and those who support them

    And this is someone who was VOTED into office

    If we as a community don't get louder and galvanize to respond to fundementalist threats like this, next thing you know, we'll be the ones forced into the closet. We are the most demonized group in society, hence the importance of each and every one of us actively being involved in our equal rights and respect.

    Posted by: Samuel L. | Sep 7, 2012 3:53:58 AM

  2. ... And yet, not one LGBT campaign or group has directly responded to him or gone to the media about him to shed light on his mentality for his constituents. Our representatives are weak as hell and silent when it matters most.

    Posted by: leo | Sep 7, 2012 3:56:31 AM

  3. How soon he forgets what it is like to have to move to the back of the bus, to have to use the back door, to have to use the other, junky drinking fountain, to have to use the dirty, basement bathroom. Have you forgotten what it is like to be treated like a second-class citizen, you idiot? Apparently so. Too bad nothing was learned from all your suffering. You will, sadly, continue to suffer, since you are truly ignorant.

    Posted by: millerbeach | Sep 7, 2012 4:33:07 AM

  4. From the inside: I can tell you that it's not Steve Bisciotti's M.O. to involve himself or the team in things like this. He will do nothing with Brendan in this situation. Brendan's opinion is not news at the UAPC, it's well known. The Ravens are a live and let live organization.

    Posted by: Edagr Allen Poe | Sep 7, 2012 6:41:41 AM

  5. It's worth noting that this right-wing, bigoted dbag is a Democrat...
    And he's not alone there. Just think of Del. Sam Arora, who was voted into office signing a pledge that he would support same-sex marriage, only to vote NO on the deciding vote. Time to clean up for Maryland Democrats.

    Posted by: Peter M. | Sep 7, 2012 8:40:34 AM

  6. Emmett Burns is an idiot. He is an ordained minister who also holds public office. I don't understand how someone can be both. What about separation of church and state? He regularly rants on and on about his religion. He says gay rights are not the same as civil rights because "they can hide being gay but we can't hide being black". Absolute total f'ing idiot.

    Posted by: Bill | Sep 7, 2012 8:48:07 AM

  7. I just filed a complaint with the ethics board regarding Delegate Burns clear attempt to suppress free speech. I sent my e-mail to the addresses that LLM provided. I included my name, address, and phone number. Within half an hour, I had a phone call co-counsel for the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics.

    She asked that I include an affidavit statement in my e-mail and explained the process that the committee would take. She was very pleasant. Let's see where this goes!

    Posted by: Richard | Sep 7, 2012 9:15:31 AM

  8. Interesting Richard that you received a phone call....wonder if this whole thing gets 'swept under the rug' or if something comes of it.
    I too sent an email (before stumbling to this site) with the exact same arguments previously listed on suppressing free speech. The Ravens could always fire Brendon, maybe...but in no way could they prevent his public support of any topic as an individual. Curious to know if you had a particular form filled out and submitted to get that phone call from Legislative Ethics? That, or it was one good email you sent!!

    Posted by: bob | Sep 7, 2012 10:21:13 AM

  9. Let's also not forget Viking Chris Kluwe, who has made three radio spots for Minnesotans for Equality.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Sep 7, 2012 10:44:37 AM

  10. Why is it that folks like this idiot consider their side (the anti-equality side) to be neutral. But anyone who seeks equality is taking sides. I guess they think that the former status quo is the neutral side?

    Posted by: Frank | Sep 7, 2012 12:06:46 PM

  11. No one has mentioned it but there is a tremendous irony in the complaint by Emmett C. Burns, Jr. to the Raven's owner, Steve Bisciotti about Brendon Ayanbadejo's support for marriage equality in Maryland.

    Burns and other evangelicals scream the loudest against hate-crimes legislation or legislation that protects LGBT people from discrimination in employment and housing by claiming that such legislation "violates" their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

    In other words, it's OK to spew hateful, bigoted, homophobic remarks against LGBT people because, well, it's in the bible and no one should prevent Burns and his ilk from expressing their "deeply-held, spiritual beliefs".

    Burns is a hypocrite.

    Thanks, LLM, for all the email addresses. I'm going to have a very busy weekend.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Sep 7, 2012 12:30:59 PM



    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON | Sep 7, 2012 1:15:17 PM

  13. But Emmett C. Burns, Jr., is a Democrat! How can that be?

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Sep 7, 2012 2:34:04 PM

  14. does that make it easier to deal with your family not supporting LGBT Equality, LincolnLounger? :D

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Sep 7, 2012 2:37:19 PM

  15. The most amazing response (via an open letter to Del. Burns) from yet ANOTHER NFL Player. It's very profane and vulgar, but totally worth the read:

    Posted by: LLM | Sep 7, 2012 2:51:24 PM

  16. Here's the scan of the actual letter from Yahoo! News. It confirms that the delegate sent this in his official governmental capacity AND used government resources to do so (at the very least stationery, most likely postage, and administrative support/labor paid for by the State) to caution a recipient of state incentives and tax breaks (the Ravens) to silence the speech of a specific employee. Shameful.

    The letter:

    Posted by: BreckRoy | Sep 7, 2012 2:55:45 PM

  17. "Strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement"? Yeah, because football has nothing to do with money and profit. Surely Mr. Burns must have better things to do with his time in office than curb someone's conflicting opinion. I'm "appalled and aghast" that such dolts get elected to public office.

    Posted by: Ben | Sep 7, 2012 3:05:11 PM

  18. Letter to Burns, cc: Speaker, Joint Ethics group, Sun/Post - Sent, along with copy of Burns original 08/29/12 on Official Office Letterhead.

    Posted by: RexT | Sep 7, 2012 5:34:23 PM

  19. I find it curious that none of the posts on this identify Emmett C. Burns Jr as a DEMOCRAT.
    Which he is.
    Perhaps an email to the MD Democratic Leadership would also be appropriate. Or perhaps a donation to his opponent in the upcoming election.
    As a Democratic Voter mysef it's just curious that Towleroad withhold party affiliation in this instance.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Sep 8, 2012 12:21:21 AM

  20. @McN NYC: I agree that it is surprising that TR did not follow one standard policy of identifying the party of the elected official. On the other hand, you must have skipped over the posts of Peter M. and Lincoln Lounger.

    @Bill: Separation of church and state does not (and should not) preclude clergy or similar people from participating in elected office. If it did, Romney would be ineligible. (Too bad.)

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Sep 8, 2012 9:31:05 AM

  21. That is absurd. Anyone can say anything they want to, and good for someone in sports for speaking out for equality!

    Posted by: FLT | Sep 8, 2012 1:25:54 PM

  22. I find this really encouraging. This is not cleverly calculated oppression - this is sloppy, batshit nonsense sent by a government official (and don't worry, he won't be in his job long - his 'bosses' will oust him, not because of any outcry, but because of his sloppiness). Whatever - this is the time, NFL. Do it.

    Posted by: shakyacres | Sep 9, 2012 8:10:13 AM

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