By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com April 05 2013 7:03 AM ET
UPDATE: In a post on his personal Facebook page, Ayanbadejo denies saying his activism contributed to the Ravens' move. “Just a heads up I did an interview today and no way said I was cut because my views. I said my talk was louder than my production and at 36 when you are not producing it is a fair move. You can find cheaper guys to do what I do. Ravens are the best organization in the nfl period!”
Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, cut from the Baltimore Ravens’ roster Thursday, thinks his outspoken support for marriage equality had something to do with the team’s decision.
“My bark is louder than my bite,” he told a Newsday reporter last night at the Straight for Equality gala in New York, where he and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe were honored. “I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field. When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?”
He admitted his performance on the field had slipped somewhat recently, but added, “I don’t necessarily think that teams want this type of attention.”
A Ravens spokesman denied that Ayanbadejo’s activism was a factor in the termination of his contract. “We are surprised that Brendon would indicate that,” Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne told Newsday. “We have always respected Brendon’s opinions and his right to express them. He was released for football reasons, period.”
Ayanbadejo said he would be open to other football opportunities, although not actively pursuing them, but would definitely continue to work for LGBT equality. “One thing I want to do is I want to facilitate change and be a catalyst for change,” he said. “I want the NFL to make a stance. Other Fortune 500 companies, Apple, Google, they’ve taken a stance against discrimination. … Instead of the NFL having to be reactive to those things I want them to be proactive because I care about the NFL and I care about the players in the NFL.”