This story ran its course pretty quickly. Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s visible support of gay marriage in Maryland caught the attention of Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., who wrote a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti on August 29 asking him to “inhibit such expressions from [his] employee.”
On Thursday, the letter made its way to the Internet. That night, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe penned a mostly articulate, but obscenity-heavy and furious, takedown of Burns and sent it to deadpsin.com on Friday, where it quickly went viral. The letter and response then became the New York Times‘ front page sports story on Sunday. Now it’s Monday, and Burns has reconsidered his position. “Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights,” he told the Baltimore Sun.
Upon reflection, Del. Burns may have done more for the cause of gay marriage than many of its supporters. That letter, in which Burns could think of “no other NFL player” who has publicly supported marriage equality, led to news coverage that threw a light on not only the several players who have done just that, but also those who have come out as gay themselves in retirement as well as the NFL’s commitment to shedding its homophobic stigma.
Whereas as recently as last Wednesday you might have casually assumed — as it seems Burns did — that the NFL was anti-gay marriage by default, you now can’t help but be aware that many of those muscly, tribal-tattoed paragons of masculinity would welcome a gay teammate and have no problem with same-sex marriage.
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