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.


  1. Lars says

    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.

  2. melvin says

    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.

  3. Ryan says

    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”.

  4. Icebloo says

    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 ?

  5. Rich says

    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).

  6. Geoff says

    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.

  7. hornlongjohn says

    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.

  8. TD says

    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.

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