Brendon Ayanbadejo is an outspoken supporter of marriage equality, but not all of the people in Maryland are happy that he is. Maryland Delegate Emmett Burns was particularly upset with the linebacker from the Super Bowl winning Baltimore Ravens. Last September, he wrote a letter demanding that Ayanbadejo be silenced for his beliefs.
Burns wrote to Ravens owner Steven Disciotti demanding that Ayanbadejo be sanctioned for supporting marriage equality. Burns wrote then:
I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player. Many of my constituents and your football supporters 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.
Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement. I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.
I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.
Well, Burns has now gotten into trouble for that letter. A Maryland legislative ethics committee issued a statement finding that Burns had violated his ethical obligatons. They stated “Your use of official General Assembly letterhead to pressure the employer of a citizen of Maryland to suppress the citizen’s right of free speech was a particularly egregious abuse of public resources.”
No recommendation of disciplinary action has been made. They said that “you have recognized the error of your violation and have publicly apologized.” Burns has not apologized for trying to silence Ayanbadejo, though he did admit to being wrong for using his office to try to do that.
Ayanbadejo has been vocal about same-sex marriage, and even used the Super Bowl to voice his support. He recently said on CNN:
Everyone’s been talking to gay people their whole lives whether we know it or not. We really believe that you’re born gay. I’ve had plenty of conversations with people that are gay and they say they are born gay, no different than me being born this beautiful almond coconut color that I am. People are born gay. So why treat them any differently? It’s time that we treat everybody fairly. And not only are we trying to dictate who people should love. We’re also trying to dictate who people should be. If a woman wants to wear a man’s clothes or if a man wants to wear a woman’s clothes or you feel like you’re a woman on the inside and you’re really a man. Who cares? Let’s just treat everybody equally. Let’s move on. Let’s evolve as a culture, as a people.