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Brendon Ayanbadejo Cut By Ravens — Was His Advocacy For LGBT Rights The Reason?

by David Badash on April 5, 2013

in Marriage,News,Politics,Sports

Post image for Brendon Ayanbadejo Cut By Ravens — Was His Advocacy For LGBT Rights The Reason?

Brendon Ayanbadejo, the outspoken NFL linebacker who became a household name for his support of LGBT civil rights, was released by the Baltimore Ravens last night. Was he fired for his advocacy? Ayanbadejo, in an initial interview, pointed to his attention-drawing activism as part of the reason, but quickly clarified in a second interview, then all night long on Twitter and Facebook, that it was not.

“Just a heads up I did an interview today and no way said I was cut because my views,” Ayanbadejo posted to Facebook last night. “I said my talk was louder than my production and at 36 when you are not producing it is a fair move. You can find cheaper guys to do what I do. Ravens are the best organization in the nfl period!”

“What’s all this nonsense about me not being a raven any more?,” the free-agent added. “I will forever be a raven & walk with Baltimore as the 1 true champion!”

“My bark is louder than my bite,” Ayanbadejo had told Newsday, which some took to mean he was fired for his words. But the 36-year old who has played for the Ravens since 2008, clarified in an extensive Baltimore Sun exclusive interview by Aaron Wilson:

Brendon Ayanbadejo emphasized that he doesn’t believe he was cut from the Super Bowl champions’ roster because of his strong advocacy for same-sex marriage and gay rights.

Ayanbadejo indicated that he understands and accepts the decision, praising the Ravens for their support of him being an outspoken voice for gay causes. He distanced himself from his interview Thursday night with Newsday at a Straight for Equality Gala in New York where he was honored along with Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, where he seemed to suggest that his beliefs were one of the reasons that he was released earlier that day.

“The Ravens have been backing me, they knew my stance for years and have been facilitating me and organizing me with LGBT and set me up with Equality Maryland. They helped me,” said Ayanbadejo, who was due a $940,000 base salary this year entering the second year of a three-year, $3.22 million contract. “If they didn’t like what I was doing, they would have cut me a long time ago. I’m a special-teams player and you can find somebody to do what I did for less than half that value. They can find someone to do the same job. I was the most productive player on special teams and the only linebacker who played in every single game. I’m not saying I didn’t bring any value. What I was saying about my bark is louder than my bite is I was talking more that I was productive and it makes you expendable.

“No team wants any situation to be bigger than football. I think equality rights is inherently bigger than football, but in no way was I a distraction for my team. It was a balancing act. I was there to play football. I was also there to promote positive issues, things bigger than football. The NFL doesn’t really want that. I was saying the NFL as a whole organization, not just the Ravens. The NFL isn’t talking about politics, immigration policies, war and AIDS. The NFL doesn’t touch those things. The NFL keeps it safe, talking about charities for kids and those less fortunate, cancer, stuff like that. I was touching on issues bigger than football. I think the Ravens think I’m mad at them, but I’m absolutely not. I love the Ravens. When I say my bark was louder than my bite, I’m saying I’m not the player I once was and the Ravens did the right thing. They were justified. I have no problem with them at all.”

 

Ayanbadejo also spent several hours on Twitter setting the record straight, including posting these tweets, one attacking those who were wrongly claiming he was cut for supporting LGBT rights:

Image, top: Facebook posting by Ayanbadejo. Photo by Jamie McGonnigal, graphic by Memeographs

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{ 2 comments }

lingin April 5, 2013 at 10:16 am

This gentleman is pure class. I hope he has a bright future and, more importantly, a healthy one.

BJLincoln April 6, 2013 at 8:45 am

He really is a nice guy and Baltimore will miss him very much. I'm am glad he is staying with the LGBT team.

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