NFL player Ayanbadejo continues to speak out in support of gay rights

Brendon Ayanbadejo Says Yes to Marriage Equality in Maryland

Back in March Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo teamed up with Equality Maryland and released a video supporting same-sex marriage.

“This should not be a subjective issue. Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons as we all do: love and commitment,” Ayanbadejo said. “It’s time to allow them the opportunity to build a family through marriage. It’s a matter of fairness. This is why I’m asking Marylanders to join me in supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples.”

Ayanbadejo went on to say, “Having the freedom to marry means committed couples and children will have the same crucial protections under the law as other families.”

“Churches can always have their beliefs, but government is supposed to treat everybody the same, and that’s equal. America is supposed to be the land of the free but in order for this to be true for all of us, then we must have the ability to marry whom we love regardless of their gender.”

The bill (HB 175/SB 116) to legalize gay marriage died without a final vote “after supporters failed to find enough votes to overcome Republican opposition and misgivings by some Democrats in the deeply Catholic state. A final vote had been expected in the House, but the overwhelmingly Democratic chamber’s leaders instead withdrew it,” Brian Witte wrote for the Associated Press. “Opponents said the decision … was a victory for defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

Ayanbadejo talking with a sailor at the 2008 P...

Image via Wikipedia

Marriage Equality supporters expected the bill to pass. Had the bill been signed into the law it would’ve given “same sex couples in Maryland legal marriage recognition and protected the rights of religious institutions to handle issues of marriage however they see fit.”

In a new ESPNW column written by Jane McManus titled Can the NFL accept gay players? Ayanbadejo says:

It would be harder to exclude an all-star who came out than a player clinging to a roster spot. Just as players who have exceptional skills don’t have to follow every rule, a gay player at the top of his sport would probably not face as much derision. If someone is a great player, things become invisible.

In the interview Ayanbadejo talked about the backlash he received and the questions about his sexuality.

“It’s not anything I’m afraid of,” Ayanbadejo said. “If I have to put a cause on my back, I’m happy to do that.”

McManus article stated “in a 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project poll, Americans were found to have much more conservative attitudes about homosexuality than those polled in most western countries. At that time, just 49 percent of Americans said it should be accepted, compared with percentages in the 70-80 range among many Europeans and Canadians.”

“But attitudes have changed dramatically in recent years, and by late 2009, the Pew Research Center found 57 percent of Americans were in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples” McManus wrote. “There is a similar opinion change about gays serving in the military. While attitudes are changing, that change has not been felt in the locker room in American professional sports, including in the NFL. Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, who also has publicly supported gay rights, hopes players will feel comfortable enough to come out. Fujita said that more NFL players might be as accepting as he and Ayanbadejo, but reporters who cover sports rarely venture beyond asking questions about the game.”

“I honestly think more guys are like-minded, but no one asks these questions,” Fujita said.

For a straight Black NFL player in the hyper masculinity obsessed field to come out and support gay civil rights is amazing. The gay civil rights movement needs the support of more pro-athletes in the NFL and the NBA.

To continue reading the article go to ESPN‘s website.


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