And Now the Anti-Gay Marriage Raven Speaks Out

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When it’s all said and done, it’s pretty cool that one of the most public feuds between football players right now is a war of words and ideas — more precisely, a very public, very heated debate about gay marriage. And it’s centering on our very own Baltimore Ravens.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s the story so far. Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo spoke out in favor of gay marriage (yay!). A Maryland state delegate, Emmett C. Burns, chastized Ayanbedejo for his political beliefs, prompting a hilarious, profanity-strewn response from Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who valiantly defended both Ayanbadejo’s first amendment rights and his support of marriage equality. Burns backed down; Ayabadejo was cheered; and David Simon pledged to buy a few more sets of season tickets if the Ravens managed to snag Kluwe away from the Vikings.

But, of course, things got more complicated. This week, Ravens center Matt Birk went on record as an opponent of gay marriage, going as far as to star in an upcoming video opposing Maryland’s new same-sex marriage law. The video, which was sponsored by the Maryland Marriage Alliance, should be released later this week, and will air on local TV stations this month. Birk, a Roman Catholic and Harvard graduate, also published an op-ed in a Minnesota paper this week, arguing that gay marriage harms families and children. Birk has also been active in his opposition to abortion, participating in an anti-abortion march in Annapolis. “I took a stance like other guys have done before me,” Birk said yesterday. “Obviously, we all have opinions. … It’s certainly a very inflammatory, very hot topic, because it’s important.”

Not one to react quietly, the Vikings’ Kluwe responded both by complimenting Birk for his good humor and community service, and then slamming his argument:  “Matt I think you’re wrong,” he wrote. “This is not an attack on you as a person or your beliefs, but the argument you presented in the Star Tribune simply does not stand up to logical inspection.” Read the rest of Kluwe’s sharp, point-by-point rebuttal here.

Although Kluwe let Ayanbadejo know about his op-ed before it was released (“I like Brendon, and I respect him a lot”), the two oppositely-minded Ravens players have yet to discuss the issue at length.

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