Shame on Democratic Maryland State Delegate Emmett C. Burns (hailing from district in Maryland’s District 10) for his anti-free speech letter to silence dissent to his bigoted position on marriage equality:
“I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo, would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Ravens football player,” Burns writes.
“I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”[…]
Ayanbadejo, 36, is unique in his vocal support of same-sex marriage as an NFL player, but he says he’s surprised a politician would suggest his free speech be suppressed. He says the Ravens have said nothing to him about his stance, but he has received some “high-fives” and “kudos” around the team’s headquarters here.
“I was surprised. It’s what our country was founded on,” he says of his free speech rights. “For somebody to try to take that away from me I was pretty surprised, from a politician especially.
Obama this year changed his stance on gay marriage, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to support it. Ayanbadejo began vocally supporting the cause in 2008, and says his issue isn’t focused on homosexuals.
“Its an equality issue. I see the big picture,” he says. “There was a time when women didn’t have rights. Black people didn’t have rights. Right now, gay rights is a big issue and it’s been for a long time. We’re slowly chopping down the barriers to equality.”
“They won’t come into your house and steal your children,” Kluwe wrote to Burns. “They won’t magically turn you into a lustful [vulgar term]. 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.”
Ayanbadejo appeared in a video by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, adding his voice to their cause. Maryland legalized same-sex marriage earlier this year, but there is a ballot initiative in November, hence the linebacker’s support.[…]
The Ravens issued a statement from team president Dick Cass on Friday: “We support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.”
He’s got a right to be hostile.
I don’t know if State Delegate Burns really understands the absurdity of his letter to Steve Biscotti. If he’s anti-marriage equality, ok, that’s your opinion. Bigotry is your right. But he literally asked the white owner of a football team to summon a black football player from the locker room to the front office and tell him to shut his mouth or else there would be trouble. Burns seems damn near unfit to serve. NFLPA Dominique Foxworth stepped up in strong support of his ex teammate’s right to free speech:
“I don’t know if I can come up with a strong enough word, but his request was asinine,” Foxworth said.
“It was frustrating and disappointing, but I was encouraged by the support that Brendon received from the football world, from Chris Kluwe from the Vikings — his letter on Deadspin may not be appropriate for the newspaper, but it was nice to see that support — and the support that the Ravens have given him was great,” said Foxworth, who played for the Ravens from 2009 to 2011. “Even the fans were really supportive of him.”
“I guess the really surprising thing was that once I heard about it, I looked up who Emmitt Burns was,” Foxworth said. “Just to see a 70-something-year-old man who grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, who shares a first name with Emmitt Till, who was essentially a martyr for freedom of speech and freedom of expression… For someone who has had that unique life experience to encourage silencing an individual, you would assume it would go against what everyone someone like that would believe. I can’t imagine that a black person growing up in Mississippi would have ever been in favor of quieting someone’s free speech. It’s odd.”
He says the NFLPA will always support players who use the platform that comes with being a professional athlete to voice their opinions on social issues, even if some people may disagree with those opinions.
“A player should do what they’re comfortable with,” said Foxworth, a Randallstown native who attended college at Maryland. “I don’t think football players are different than any other human beings, with the exception of having a large platform. I think that’s all the reason to speak out. Whether people agree with what you’re saying or not, it’s your right to say it. I don’t think any social issues have been solved by silencing one group.”
That’s three football players being little ‘p’ patriots folks.