Ravens linebacker and special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo is offering up two tickets to the teams’ season opener to someone who donates to a group supporting Maryland’s same-sex marriage law. The law was petitioned to referendum by opponents, and voters will decide same-sex marriage’s fate on Nov. 6.
Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., D-Baltimore County, has a problem with Ayanbadejo’s involvement with the campaign.
In a letter to Ravens owners Steve Bisciotti, Burns wrote it was “inconceivable” that a Ravens player would “publicly endorse same-sex marriage.” Burns said many of his constituents 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.”
“I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base,” Burns wrote. “I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as national football franchise owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee.”
Ayanbadejo’s participation in the debate and the campaign is hardly new. In April 2009, the Ravens linebacker penned a column for The Huffington Post headlined “Same Sex Marriages: What’s the Big Deal?”
In October 2011, the linebacker appeared in a video sponsored by Marylanders for Marriage Equality.
“I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples who want to make a lifetime commitment to each other,” Ayanbadejo says in the video. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Updated, 6:29 p.m.: After being told about Burns’ letter through a Twitter message Thursday, Ayanbadejo tweeted “people are so ignorant.”
He followed that tweet up with an explanation of his support for same-sex marriage.
“The fight is not about same sex marriage or interracial marriage or slavery or equal rights for women,” Ayanbadejo tweeted. “The fight is for equality for all!”
(Photo: Associated Press)