Marriage Equality Advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo Responds to Chris Culliver’s Anti-Gay Remarks

Here's Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo's reaction to Chris Culliver's anti-gay remarks:

B_ayanbadejo"You know, I think that in San Francisco, and being from the Bay Area myself, that's something that we really try to preach — love and acceptance of everybody. And so I couldn't really even say anything negative to the young man. It's just one of those things where you have to live and you have to learn. And I said earlier on (a TV broadcast) — in the words of Martin Luther King, you can't fight hate with hate. You have to fight hate with love. We've all made our mistakes, we've all been there and done certain things, and we've hurt people regardless if we meant to do it or not. But more than anything it's an opportunity to have a learning experience.

"I've preached since day one to my teammates that there's certain words you can't say. And when they're around me they know — if B.A.'s around, you can't say 'gay' in a derogatory manner, you can't say the three-letter 'f' word. And I tell them, I go, you can't say those things. And if people hear you say those things, regardless if you mean them or not, they're going to fry you. And if it's in a public arena your whole reputation's going to be roasted for it.

So we've kind of seen it happen this time. So we just have to all learn from what happened, from this mistake. He apologized and hopefully he'll learn. And he's in the Bay Area, and it's really important there, it's pertinent there. So I think he's going to learn and he's going to grow to be a better person for it."

The AP adds to those remarks:

"I'd say 50 percent of the people (in the NFL) think like Culliver. I'd say 25 percent of the people think like me. And 25 percent of the people are religious. They don't necessarily agree with all the things I agree with, but they're accepting," Ayanbadejo said. "So it's a fight. It's an uphill battle."

And USA Today reports:

Ayanbadejo, who got into a public battle with a Maryland delegate over gay marriage in September, welcomed the discussion ‚ÄĒ to a point. He balked only when asked for his theory on why pro football locker rooms seem to be behind the rest of society in accepting gay lifestyles.

"Honestly, I have my opinions why but I really can't voice them now," he said. "I think it's something we'll have to talk about after the Super Bowl."

Because they're too controversial?

"Yeah, I mean, it's tough to be sitting here talking about equality, and naturally that's the most important thing but right here and now I'm focusing on the Super Bowl so it's kind of tough to be talking about equality and what not when we're here for a Super Bowl," Ayanbadejo said. "With this such a huge platform and being such a big game, I have to narrow my scopes and have real fine vision and know the importance of why I am here and I'm here because of the Super Bowl.

"Of course, if I can be a voice for equality, especially after this game, then I welcome everybody to sit down and get together after the game and we'll do a lot more for equality than just talking about it now at a sporting event."

Finallly, the SacBee adds:

Asked if he believes Culliver's comments represent a common feeling among NFL players, Ayanbadejo said: "Yeah, it's pretty normal. It's pretty normal behavior."


  1. Fahd says

    When Karl Marx talked about the opiate of the masses, I don’t think he was thinking Superbowl, but if it’s not one thing it’s another.

    When pro-football players are debating gay rights that’s progress. When some pro-football players’ ignorant, taken-for-granted homophobia gets called out as unacceptable that’s progress. Things are changing for the better.

    Where is Eric Decker in all of this?

  2. MikeBoston says

    I love this guy!

    He is articulate and refuses to be baited into a name-calling fight (as opposed to a productive debate – which he seems to welcome). He also has not wavered from his opinion – equality for all – even when he is faced with direct opposition from his own teammates. Such confidence is a rare thing. I’m glad he is willing to speak up for us.

    As for Eric Decker – he was at my place last night. Well, he was in the dream I had.

  3. jersey says

    What a sweetheart. I just love this guy. I sure hope they win this Sunday because he deserves only good things to happen for him.

  4. jersey says

    What a sweetheart. I just love this guy. I sure hope they win this Sunday because he deserves only good things to happen for him.

  5. Goodcarver says

    An articulate, intelligent man. Hope he walks away with a Super Bowl totem or medal or whatever they give the winners.

  6. Jose says

    The anti-gay Christians will say and do anything to stop LGBT people, they will do anything to cock block gays and stop LGBT people.

  7. Caliban says

    Love Brendan and Chris Kluwe too. It really says something that these two obviously intelligent and articulate men are on the side of equality while the bigots and haters are represented by an inarticulate fool like Chris Culliver.

    I’m not a sports fan and won’t be watching the Super Bowl, but this year I feel like I have some skin in the game. So for maybe the first time ever I’m cheering for one of the teams. Go Ravens! ūüėČ

  8. Markt says

    I’m feeling like I wanna show that speaking up the way Ayanbadejo has is responded to strongly. So I would donate but I can’t find a charity or other organization that would specifically connect to him has the rainmaker. If anyone comes across one please let me know.

  9. NullNaught says

    At least he acknowledged that ALL the straight players agree with Culliver. It doesn’t matter what this fellow thinks or how badly he wants to come out of the closet, straight jocks will never accept an out gay teammate.

  10. will says

    In case you haven’t seen it, here’s one of the commercials he did for marriage equality in Maryland.

  11. dave02657 says

    “At least he acknowledged that ALL the straight players agree with Culliver.”
    Posted by: NullNaught | Feb 1, 2013 1:14:45 PM

    Really? from the original citation of this post…

    … The AP adds to those (Ayanbadejo’s) remarks:
    “I’d say 50 percent of the people (in the NFL) think like Culliver.”

  12. NullNaught says


    I went by this article… If he underestimated the numbers elsewhere because of wishful thinking or other reasons,what does it matter? That is what the straight players think.

  13. Caliban says

    If anyone is pulling “facts” straight out of their @ss around here it’s you, Nullnaught. (I can’t help notice that your name means ZERO, so you should be commended for your honesty there at least.) Only gay men and closeted gay men support gay rights and marriage equality? Well that’s good to know since, given the recent election results in Maryland, Washington state, Vermont & Wisconsin there’s a bumper crop of gay men in those states to choose from!

    Either that or you’re full of sh*t as usual, which is unfortunately the more likely explanation.

  14. NullNaught says


    I am surprised at you as usually you post intelligently rather than belittling your own intellect by throwing around personal insults. I am also surprised you put words in my mouth; but less so. I never said only gay people and closeted gay men support gay rights. That I believe all straight players feel that way is because playing and/or watching sports corrupts the mind, and retards the thinking process. I honestly don’t believe a straight player has the strength of character or mind to be for gay rights. This guy is outspokenly for gay rights. I assume he is in the closet. If he is a fluke, what difference does it make? Straight players will never accept a gay teammate.

  15. Caliban says

    So Brendon, Chris Kluwe, and all the other players who have spoken out on behalf of gay rights, have appeared in You Can Play or (knowingly, since there’s apparently some doubt) in It Gets Better vids are secretly gay?

    You realize that doesn’t make a lot of sense, right? Believe me, I’m not a huge fan of “jocks” in general, but they are all individuals with their own opinions and experiences. They are no more a monolithic group with just ONE set of opinions than gays are. I would humbly suggest that if you think that ALL straight athletes hate gays that might be more about your assumptions and issues than theirs.

    Gay people DO have enemies in this world but sometimes people will surprise you. That “redneck” or “jock” or whoever that you’ve pigeonholed just might not be as narrow as you think.

  16. NullNaught says


    Thank you for refraining form personal attacks. The reason I say that no straight player is for gay rights is that the constant anti-gay propaganda and environment leaves no room for individuals of little intelligence to have a unique viewpoint. No I disagree that straight jocks think for themselves. They are not allowed to if they are a member of a team. If they attempt to do so they are not a team player. Free thinking is frowned upon in sports with both fists. There is no room for a weak minded individual to retain their integrity in this environment. It may not make sense to you, but yes, any outspoken advocate of gay rights in professional sports is almost certainly a closeted gay person. They haven’t got the strength of character to come out because they are athletes. They are per se idiot scum. I wouldn’t say that about any other group; not even soldiers. But the environment leaves no room for a tolerant straight jock.
    I have in my life gone out of my way to give jocks the benefit of the doubt. I even befriended straight people including jocks in an attempt to reach across the chasm. Believe me, jocks are waaaaaaay to stupid ever to do so. They will never ever surprise you. They truly are too stupid to think, let alone think freely.

  17. shane says

    And now NULLNAUGHT — who baited and ensnared dear CALIBAN, an otherwise even tempered, insightful commenter — says “jocks are waaaaaaay to (sic) stupid”… FAIL on all counts

  18. NullNaught says


    I am autistic. Autistic people are bad at spelling. You are making fun of me for being disabled. Your comment goes to my person rather than my argument. Do you have an argument, or are you here just to make an @$$hole of yourself publicly?

  19. Just_a_guy says

    @Nullnaught: Don’t speak. Don’t post here again. Ever. Slap your fingers if you find yourself wanting to post another comment here. Stop it. Remember that I told you this, and above all, never post on towleroad.c

  20. Just_a_guy says

    @Nullnaugt, nah. I just figured that your self-loathing comments were begging for someone to put u in your place. I figured it might as well be me. :-). Was I wrong??

  21. Bill says

    @Not that Rob: I think he was using “normal” in the context of NFL players. A check of an on-line dictionary gave the following distinctions:

    Usage: Regular and ordinary are popular terms of well-known signification; normal has now a more specific sense, arising out of its use in science. A thing is normal, or in its normal state, when strictly conformed to those principles of its constitution which mark its species or to the standard of a healthy and natural condition. It is abnormal when it departs from those principles.

    He was probably using “normal” in the “mark its species” sense – that homophobia is a characteristic of NFL players, although that is hopefully changing.

    “Typical” or “so common as to practically be normal” would be clearer, but he was being interviewed and didn’t have a chance to edit what came out. Also, at 50%, “common” alone might be too weak a term to describe the situation – its a serious problem and you don’t want to risk downplaying it either.

  22. NullNaught says


    Sure you put me in my place by making a vague unsupportable threat. You painted yourself into a corner so that you felt you had to back down in front of everyone rather than have the cops called. Smart move, backing down like that. Dumb move making such a vague and impotent threat.
    Next time you try to violate a person’s civil rights be more specific and see what happens.

  23. Just_a_guy says

    @nullnaught: if you say so. I’ve got other things to do, man. I don’t actually care all that much, sorry. I already said my quick off-the-cuff thoughts; thats what comments generally are. Maybe consider why you elicited that response from a casual reader who wasn’t planning to comment at all. G’night.

  24. NullNaught says


    Sure you don’t care; that’s why you almost got the cops called on you tonight. Maybe YOU should consider how close your undisciplined temper brought you to having that happen before you comment in the future. G’night.

  25. says

    Everything you say is messed up, effed up and tragic. You are a tragedy in an of yourself. A closed minded, narrow, one dimensional, ignorant tragic mess. Your posts read like satire. Go away little child.

    Ayanbadejo: you are a hero, an in all honesty, the most iconic LGBT rights leader we have, and that your not even part of our community makes your support of us even more amazing. Thank you!