Oladele Brendon Ayanbadejo, born September 6, 1976, is an American football linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 1999. He played college football for the UCLA Bruins. In 2009, Ayanbedejo publicly advocated legalizing same-sex marriage. | Photo: NFL
There are many horrific stories associated with football in recent days – the Saints' bounty program and the seemingly countless neurological traumas associated with the game can lead impartial observers (such as myself) to conclude that poorly armored brainless drones ply their trade on the gridiron; that would be until seeing the controversy stirred up by Brendon Ayanbadejo.
Ayanbadejo exercised his rights under the First Amendment when he stated that gay marriage should be legal in the state of Maryland and that voters should pass the ballot initiative. Emmett C. Burns Jr. is a state legislator apparently wrestling with serious homophobia issues along with an all too inadequate understanding of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Burns writes a letter to the owner of the Baltimore Ravens (Steve Bisciotti) condemning Ayanbadejo's First Amendment exercise and then Chris Kluwe (Punter, Vikings) writes an open letter published on Deadspin that provides Burns a 2nd anal orifice. Internet explodes.
Kluwe's witty yet profane explanation of free speech rights expresses all that's needed regarding Burns's effort to censor Ayanbadejo on the basis that he's a football player. There are a couple points meriting mention regarding this controversy, and regarding gay marriage in general.
The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, contains the most important part of our Constitution – the Equal Protection Clause which reads, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." Simply put – if you are an American citizen you have the same rights as every other American citizen.
How then is gay marriage not the law of the land? How do we live in a country where straight citizens can marry the partner of their choice yet a gay citizen is unable to marry the partner of their choice? Clearly there is inequity in the system. 44 states have some sort ban of same sex marriage while Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut have all recognized the supremacy of the Fourteenth Amendment. 44 states actively codified a new version of Jim Crow segregation.
The beauty of Ayanbadejo and Kluwe is not that each made a Constitutional argument for or against gay marriage, b
|44 states actively codified a new version of Jim Crow segregation.|
ut rather their argument is based on something more fundamental – natural born rights. It is our right to marry the person we love regardless of our sexual orientation. Moreover two football players – athletes considered to be the most masculine and representing the idea of rugged individualism Americans hold dear – speaks to the justness of the cause. The founders of our country and these football players believe that it is right and proper for individuals to determine their fate without interference from the state, and if that means that a citizen wants to marry a person of the same gender, then government has no obligation but to recognize the legality of that union.
Government and government officials along with fellow citizens should also remain cognizant of the rights of individual citizens speaking out on all issues regardless of occupation or social station.
However, this lacking of allowing people to speak their minds is instructive of the institution that is social conservatism as I've also found out.
Christopher James Kluwe, born December 24, 1981 is a punter for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. On Sept. 7, 2012 Kluwe sent to Maryland state assembly delegate Emmett Burns, defending the opinions of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and sharply criticizing Burns on his attempt to stifle Ayanbadejo's free speech. | Photo: NFL
Last week I wrote about how the Republican Party
lost its way and was immediately attacked as a liberal masquerading as a Republican
by Robert Cleveland
(the erstwhile Conservative on this website). Specifically my writing was mostly directed towards GOP stances on issues of gay marriage and abortion. If I am to take context clues from the animus directed my way then once again the Republican point of view is that government is not allowed to tell individual citizens what to do except with regards to social dictums. That position besides being inherently hypocritical (Kluwe used a much better word for hypocritical) is comical. Constitutionally, Mr. Cleveland has no argument and my position on these issues has been vindicated by Messrs. Jefferson and Madison.
At the Republican convention in Tampa, Gary Younge (columnist for The Nation) two horrifying anecdotes: two attendees were thrown out of the convention after pelting a black CNN camerawoman with peanuts while stating "This is how we feed the animals"; another was the dearth of Hispanics attending the convention leading to an overabundance of "Hispanics Love Romney" signs without people to hold them.
Once again I'll state this as clear as possible so Republicans – the Republican party of Barry Goldwater, Bob Dole and Charlie Crist – will get the message: the problem with the GOP is that our convention was monochromatic and the Democratic convention was in Technicolor.
Time to oust the moral Nazis, and now that includes Emmett C. Burns Jr., a man who is a Democrat and a Baptist minister. A closing question for the Reverend: If Jesus said that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, then how can he expect a Divine reward for taking actions counter to the teachings of my Lord and Savior?