When Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo voiced his support for marriage equality, a Maryland state lawmaker asked the teams' management to censure him. But he was countered Friday by a letter from Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who had several choice words to support his fellow football player.
Maryland Democrat and minister Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote a letter August 29 to Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti, saying that he found it "inconceivable" that Ayanbadejo was supportive of gay rights and marriage equality.
"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," he wrote. "I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee, and that he be ordered to cease and decist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayambadejo [sic] is doing."
According to Yahoo, which published the full letter, the team did not provide a comment, but Ayanbadejo tweeted, "Football is just my job it's not who I am. I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!!!"
But Vikings punter Kluwe, who has done several ads for Minnesotans for Equality, had even harsher words for Burns in an open letter posted on Deadspin.
"I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland's state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level," he starts. Kluwe said that Burns's letter is asking to stifle Ayanbadejo's Constitutional right to freedom of expression.
Kluwe then quotes Burns's letter, where he says that many of his constituents are "appalled and aghast" at Ayanbadejo's support. Kluwe replies, "Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who's "deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland"? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have "no place in a sport"? I can't even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for "beautiful oppressionism")."
Kluwe talked to Outsports earlier this year, and said "I’ve always believed that people are inherently the same and should have the same rights and equal protection under the law. It really doesn’t matter what you do with who or whom as long as you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights. Everyone should be free to live their own life however it makes them happy."