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Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo Plans to Carry Marriage Equality Advocacy to Super Bowl


NYT columnist Frank Bruni reports on an email sent by Super Bowl-bound Baltimore Raven and marriage equality advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo in the early morning hours after his team won the AFC Championship:

XlviiHe tapped out an email to Brian Ellner, a leading marriage-equality advocate with whom he had worked before, and Michael Skolnik, the political director for Russell Simmons, a hip-hop mogul who has become involved in many issues, including same-sex marriage.

Ayanbadejo wrote: “Is there anything I can do for marriage equality or anti- bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media?” The time stamp on the email was 3:40:35 A.M.

Ayanbadejo, who says his ultimate goal is to bring his message to Ellen DeGeneres' show with a Super Bowl ring and "bust a move", is currently figuring out the best way to make that message resonate in the biggest arena in pro football:

Throughout his week, Ayanbadejo has been—and will be—talking to gay-rights advocates about how to seize this moment. For example, he’s been swapping emails with Hudson Taylor, the founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, a group dedicated to ridding sports at all levels—high school, college, professional—of homophobia.

“He’s so excited and ready to take a stand in whatever way he can,” said Taylor. “He is leveraging the biggest sports stage in the world.”

He’s also in conversations with Ellner and Skolnik specifically about marriage equality. Said Ellner: “He understands that as a straight biracial player in the Super Bowl, he can have a huge impact on the future of this issue.”

And we'll be rooting for him.

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  1. Damn you for beating my Pats. Good luck at the Super Bowl, I'll be rooting for you!

    Posted by: HM2 Matt | Jan 23, 2013 8:40:50 AM

  2. God bless this guy. Since I don't give a flying f*ck about the NFL, and consequently have no deep allegiances, I find it very easy to say GO RAVENS. Equality wins.

    Posted by: Lars | Jan 23, 2013 9:13:05 AM

  3. I am moved to tears by Ayanbadejo, Kluwe, Cohen and the others who have voiced their support in the last year. It is like the family reunion you always wanted but never got. Welcome home.

    Posted by: melvin | Jan 23, 2013 9:58:24 AM

  4. He is actually making an appearance at a gay bar in New Orleans to benefit Forum for Equality, which is a Louisiana-based gay rights organization, according to a post on their Facebook page.

    "SuperBowl star Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo will be making an appearance to benefit the Forum For Equality at 700 Club @ 700 Burgundy St next week. Details to follow".

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 23, 2013 10:02:19 AM

  5. That settles it: This Clevelander is rooting for the Ravens.

    Posted by: Hank | Jan 23, 2013 10:07:09 AM

  6. And with this, I finally have made my Super Bowl decision. Ravens it is.

    Posted by: ROBfromVA | Jan 23, 2013 10:11:21 AM

  7. SEXY. Ooph. I wish he was gay. Ever wonder if some advocates really are gay? I know i defended my two moms a lot before i officially came out. ^_^

    Posted by: alexander | Jan 23, 2013 11:46:58 AM

  8. Too add: 49ers did a "It's get Better" Video.

    Posted by: CK | Jan 23, 2013 12:15:48 PM

  9. His eyebrows are impeccable.

    Posted by: Joel V | Jan 23, 2013 12:44:42 PM

  10. dear Towleroad: thank you for not showing a full body shot of this guy again, that is way too much. Hopefully not for you Ellen.

    Posted by: Cd in DC | Jan 23, 2013 12:54:39 PM

  11. He should be getting Bragman on the phone as well.

    Posted by: Jerry | Jan 23, 2013 1:32:31 PM

  12. @Hank: I guess hell *has* frozen over;-)

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Jan 23, 2013 2:37:05 PM

  13. Thank you for that and thank you for THIS:

    Posted by: Felix | Jan 23, 2013 3:42:02 PM

  14. I so love this guy. He is a great human being and I hope he wins a Super Bowl ring.

    Why can't there be more decent straight men out there who aren't afraid of us ?

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jan 23, 2013 3:49:14 PM

  15. This man is just so beautiful, inside and out.

    Posted by: Peter Hargmier | Jan 23, 2013 4:13:49 PM

  16. Romans 1:24-32.

    Some of you mention God in your comments. Know that God hates homosexuals.

    Fags belong to Satan.

    Have a blast in hell.

    Posted by: John | Jan 23, 2013 4:18:55 PM

  17. Thank you so much, John, for your eloquent and insightful post.

    A truly welcome and valuable addition to the conversation.


    Posted by: Peter Hargmier | Jan 23, 2013 4:33:17 PM

  18. As a long-time San Franciscan, it's difficult for me to root for the Ravens this year, but Ayanbedejo has at least secured my neutrality (unless the Niners want to raise the ante).

    Posted by: Rich | Jan 23, 2013 6:40:32 PM

  19. John, the sweetheart. Coming ALL the way to a gay blog to say this.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jan 23, 2013 7:20:16 PM

  20. I'm continuously overwhelmed...speechless, humbled - thankful, proud...joyous at each new, rapid-fire development in our struggle for this simple, simple thing: garden-variety, no-questions-asked, taken-for-granted equality in the world. Thank you, John.

    Posted by: Geoff | Jan 23, 2013 8:34:57 PM

  21. Dear "John":

    RIH (Rot In Hell rather than Rest in Peace).

    You mean-spirited piece of Dreck.

    Posted by: JakeSFExPat | Jan 24, 2013 5:36:20 AM

  22. Thank you Brendon. I love what you do, but I am still for the 49ers. But how perfect this Superbowl is. Two Brothers coaching and a team with a strong ally for gay rights vs a team representing our capitol, San Francisco. Sounds like heaven.

    Posted by: hornlongjohn | Jan 25, 2013 8:05:52 AM

  23. God Bless this man of color for taking a stand for equality for LGBT people, people with his history know how they were oppressed for being different and how they over came the hate and oppression by a few who tried to stop them from being free and equal.

    Posted by: TD | Jan 25, 2013 11:49:08 AM

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