Brendon Ayanbadejo sez NOH8!
The brouhaha about the idiotic letter that Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. (D) wrote last month to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti regarding Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s outspoken advocacy of a Maryland ballot initiative legalizing gay marriage, inspired Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe to pen his own response to Burns.
It’s a doozy. A classic, even.
Burns original letter to Steve Biscotti urged him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee.” 36-year-old Ayanbadejo traces his support for gay rights back to his mid-teen years living with his family in a dorm for gay and transgender students at the UC Santa Cruz. Ayanbadejo’s step-father was the dorm’s headmaster.
In recent months, Brendon has taped a web-only video for the Maryland same-sex marriage campaign, written a Huffington Post editorial in support of marriage equality and offered a pair of tickets to tonight’s season-opening game against the Cincinnati Bengals to raise money for the cause. The backlash against Emmett Burns is largely seen as a “win” for supporters of gay rights.
Here’s a pointed excerpt from Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe’s razor sharp open letter to Burns published on Deadspin. Extra points to Kluwe for use of the term “cockmonster” and for calling Burns a “narcissistic fromunda stain”:
What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.
Wait, he’s just getting warmed up:
This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about penis? “Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!” Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I’m fairly certain you might need it.
Kluwe signs off by telling Burns:
P.S. I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing” and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.
The whole thing is absolutely worth reading.
Brendon Ayanbadejo says he plans to continue supporting same-sex marriage and has offered to assist Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley with more fundraising for the issue. Ten of his fellow players on the Ravens have offered their support. He says the change in attitude within the NFL (other players used to joke that Ayanbadejo was gay, but he’s married with two kids) “has happened faster than I ever thought it would happen.”
This morning, Emmett Burns appeared to take a step back from the near universal condemnation his letter has generated, according to The Baltimore Sun:
“Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights,” Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, said in a telephone interview. “And I have my First Amendment rights. … Each of us has the right to speak our opinions. The football player and I have a right to speak our minds.”
Ayanbadejo hopes that Pastor Burns will “open his heart” on the issue. In the meantime, Ellen DeGeneres has invited Brendon Ayanbadejo to fly to California for a live appearance on her show. Ravens team president Dick Cass has indicated the team would respond to Burns “in time” and hoped that Brendon would continue to speak his mind about matters that are important to him.
Maryland will be one of four states to vote on same-sex marriage in November. The issue has never been upheld by referendum, which is why what Brendon Ayanbadejo (and Chris Kluwe) and other straight people—this is crucial—are doing and saying is so very, very important.
Emmett C. Burns Jr. has had to endure public mockery for his antiquated views. Public mockery seems appropriate to me in this case—after all Burns is the one who pulled the trigger on this in the first place—but it’s also the sort of experience that might change the man. If everyone seems to be pointing at you and laughing, maybe there’s a good reason for that. Maybe it’s because you ARE the idiot.
Maybe it’s time for a little soul-searching Mr. Burns.
To Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, you’re good citizens one of the highest compliments I have to offer. I’m proud to share a country with guys like you.