NFL players in support of gay marriage.

This story has lit up the wires, especially the letter from Chris Kluwe (at the bottom of this post).

It all started when Brendon Ayanbadejo, a Baltimore Ravens player, publicly threw his support behind gay marriage equality in Maryland - there's currently a ballot initiative that would legalize gay marriage.

Professional athletes publicly offering support for gay marriage is a new phenomenon, and likely represents and major shift in the public's attitudes towards sexual orientation and civil rights. This trend will continue and I doubt it will be too long before gay professional athletes in the most popular North American sports (e.g., hockey, baseball, football and basketball) start publicly coming out. The impact of this cannot be understated. Not only that, the first pro athlete from one of the four majors to come out is going to go down in history as a hero to the majority. I'm hoping it's a Canadian hockey player on a Canadian team. Call me patriotic.

In response to Ayanbadejo, a Maryland state Democratic legislator named Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote a an official letter from his office to the Baltimore Ravens requesting that the organization muzzle Ayanbadejo.

Emmett-Burns-letter-jpg_203633
Emmett-Burns-letter-jpg_203633

Here's the letter in all its glory (click to make larger):

Not one to back down, Ayanbadejo called Burns Jr. out and the story blew up. At one point Ayanbadejo tweeted:

Football is just my job it's not who I am. I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!!!

Since this all went down, others have come to the support of Ayanbadejo including the president of the Ravens and the NFL Commissioner.

Another NFL player, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, also took up the cause, writing Burns Jr. a scathing letter which was distributed to the media:

Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr.,

I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland's state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):

1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should "inhibit such expressions from your employees," more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as 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.

2. "Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement." Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who's "deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland"? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have "no place in a sport"? I can't even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for "beautiful oppressionism").

3. 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.

Sincerely, Chris Kluwe

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.

And Chris Kluwe interviewed about his letter on CNN: