This is a photo of Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings NFL football team. This image reflects the Minnesota Vikings active roster as of Wednesday, July 7, 2010. (AP Photo)
The legalization of same-sex marriages in Maryland has long divided politicos in the state. But now the debate has trickled into the non-partisan sport of football.
Here’s what unfolded last week: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has appeared in a pro-same sex marriage campaign ad, publicly written about the cause and, most recently, gave away two tickets to a football game for a Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser. This all prompted Maryland delegate Emmett Burns Jr. (D-Baltimore County) to write a letter to Raven's Owner Steve Bisciotti, saying it was “inconceivable” that a Raven’s football player would publicly endorse same-sex marriage.
The letter itself gained some attention, but then Minnesota Viking’s punter Chris Kluwe put Burns on blast and wrote a letter of his own in defense of Ayanbadejo. The letter, which was filled with profanity and colorful imagery went viral.
By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should "inhibit such expressions from your employees," more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person's right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfu***** obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.
Read the full letter here.
The Nation called the letter the great political statement by any athlete ever. Babble blog called it epic. Kluwe appeared on MSNBC's The Ed Show to discuss why he his speaking out in favor of free speech and marriage equality.
It’s clear that Kluwe’s letter has taught political officials everywhere never to tattle on an athlete for his views to his boss. Because as the NFL organization and fan base showed, it’s got a lot of public clout.
The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday that Del. Burns walked back his position and said Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo should be allowed to speak out in favor of same-sex marriage.
"Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights," Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, said in a telephone interview. "And I have my First Amendment rights. … Each of us has the right to speak our opinions. The football player and I have a right to speak our minds."
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