Just in time to kickoff the new NFL season, Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo has turned last week's highly publicized drama into an highly publicized effort to spread LGBT tolerance throughout his sport. A day after Maryland lawmaker Emmet Burns retracted his letter demanding sanctions against Brendon, the sports star appeared on CNN to increase the volume on his mission to achieve marriage equality for his LGBT friends.
"There's still some issues that people don't understand, some fundamental issues when it comes to marriage equality," Brendon said. "I think the most problem that players have is the tie between religion and equal rights. You have to make it, you know, not a religious issue. It's really just an equal rights issue. And we're just trying to get approval from every state for each person to marry and not in a church. We're not going to change anything religiously. And people have their rights religiously and religious freedom as well. We're trying to get letters from every state that people can have a marriage document and that's recognized in every state."
"So once you get over that barrier, guys say, hey, love is love and you should be able to marry who you love," he added. "It's really a changing of the guard in the football community because this even 12 months ago when I was doing op-eds for marriage equality, I would still hear certain snickering in the background. I think we've changed the tide and come a long way in a short period of time. And I'm really excited that my cohorts and my teammates and my team, the Baltimore Ravens, and the city and everybody is really supporting and gathering behind me in the cause to treat people fairly all in the name of love."
On Sunday, Mr. Burns backed down. "Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights," Mr. Burns said. "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."