From Larry Brown Sports:
Baltimore Ravens linebacker/special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo already has his plans prepared for Super Bowl week. No, he’s not going to be visiting the finest restaurants and nightclubs in New Orleans. Ayanbadejo is planning to use the media blitz at the Super Bowl as an opportunity to express his views on gay rights and anti-bullying.
Ayanbadejo is biracial and grew up in a liberal environment where discrimination was frowned upon. His stepfather was a resident director for an LGBT dorm at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Ayanbadejo and his family lived in the dorm, which helped him develop passionate feelings for gay rights.
Earlier this season, Ayanbadejo was at the center of a controversy that developed when a Maryland politician wrote a letter to the Ravens telling them to silence the linebacker from speaking out. Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe jumped in and wrote a scathing letter toward the politician admonishing him for discouraging a citizen from sharing their views.
Ayanbadejo remains passionate about gay rights and anti-bullying. In fact, he began working on plans to get out his message as soon as the Ravens clinched a berth to the Super Bowl.
According to The New York Times, Ayanbadejo emailed two marriage equality advocates hours after returning home from the team’s win over the New England Patriots last weekend. He’s even swapped emails with the founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, a group dedicated to ridding sports at all levels of homophobia. He’s trying to organize plans to speak out for gay rights in the week leading up to the big game.
Ayanbadejo even has the dream scenario in mind: the Ravens win the Super Bowl, and he celebrates as a guest on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, where the two talk about the importance of equality for gays and lesbians.
You might wonder if the Ravens are worried about Ayanbadejo’s plans to speak out during Super Bowl week becoming a distraction. We don’t know their thoughts on the matter, but we do know the team managed to beat the Patriots despite him causing a stir the week before the game, so they are used to him becoming the focus of attention.
Photo credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images Sport