Politician Wants To Silence NFL Player's Support of Gay Marriage

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Alissa_Sal's picture
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Politician Wants To Silence NFL Player's Support of Gay Marriage

A Baltimore County politician wants the Ravens to silence linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is an open supporter of same-sex marriage in Maryland - baltimoresun.com

Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has proudly and publicly supported the battle for same-sex marriage in Maryland, which was legalized earlier this year but faces a ballot initiative in November. If you follow the chatty linebacker on Twitter, you know that he has no qualms about speaking his mind on pretty much everything.

But according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo!, a local politician wants Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to make B.A. zip it. Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Democrat from Baltimore County, sent a letter to Bisciotti saying that his constituents "are appalled and aghast" that a Ravens player "would step into this controversial divide.?

"I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player," Burns wrote in the letter that was first obtained by WBAL. "Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other.

"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," Burns continued. "I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.

"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," he continued. "I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing."

Whether you agree with Ayanbadejo on the issue or not -- I?ll keep my stance to myself as this is not the Baltimore Politics Blitz blog -- I agree with a recent tweet from Ayanbadejo in which he says that he, as an American citizen, has every right to voice his opinions.

?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!!!

What do you think, was it appropriate of a MD politician to ask the Ravens to effectively silence one of their players? Do you think that employers actually have the right to silence their employees on controversial topics?

For the record, after a huge wave of backlash, the politician in question backed off on his stance. Still, thoughts? Is it inappropriate for sports players to use their influence to talk about controversial topics? Is it appropriate for anyone to ask their employers to make them stop?

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Oh NO he didn't!

"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," Burns continued. "I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.

I'm sorry, but I think he's a real piece of work if he's going to request him to be silenced. If he was speaking on the same side as this politician would it have been an issue?

I love his reply

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!!!
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I am a fan of free speech regardless if you are a football player, teacher, or other profession. This is news because it was anti gay rights. People on the other side of this issue are told they can not voice there opinion publicly on a daily basis.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I am a fan of free speech regardless if you are a football player, teacher, or other profession. This is news because it was anti gay rights. People on the other side of this issue are told they can not voice there opinion publicly on a daily basis.

My thought is that to a certain extent, it does depend on your position. If you are in a position of power/authority over people and your opinions give rise to the suspicion that you may not be able to carry out your job fairly, the employer might have the right to tell you to keep it to yourself. Examples of this would be teachers or police officers that are publicly racist or publicly anti-gay; it would certainly give the public pause to wonder if they are capable of putting aside their prejudice and treating their minority or gay students fairly (in the case of a teacher, or minority or gay citizens, in the case of a police officer.) Then we weigh that individual's rights over whether they still seem capable of doing their duty for the public good.

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I cant even begin to wrap my mind around what this politician was trying to do? He had to know this would blow up in his face. Sometime the stupidity of politicians is mind boggling

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Chick Fil A's owner has power over no one unless they are addicted to their food. Wink

The politician was wrong. I think unless you actively promise (we do in the military) to give up voicing your opinion in public then you retain that right as long as you are respectful and don't try to use your company's name/image/resources to voice it.

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I wonder if anyone in the Chick Fil A company dared tell Mr. Cathy he should have kept his mouth shut? Biggrin

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I doubt it. But a whole lot of other people had no problem saying something including the mayors of a few cities. So politicians trying to tell people they can't voice their opinion.

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Just wanted to share this response to this situation by Chris Klewe of the Minnesota Vikings.

Chris Kluwe: An Open Letter to Emmett Burns

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Biggrin That was completely awesome.

And yes Lillie, it was wrong when those mayors threatened to block Chick Fil A, and it's wrong now.