FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Ray Rice #27 and Brendon Ayanbadejo #51 of the Baltimore Ravens run on the field prior to their AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Earlier this week Brendon Ayanbadejo's stance on same-sex marriage stirred up a bit of controversy. Brendon, who has been a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage, gifted a pair of tickets to a Baltimore Ravens game to a fundraiser for Marylanders For Marriage Equality. This action apparently struck a nerve with Maryland Delegate, Emmett Burns, who sent a letter to Ravens Owner, Steve Bisciotti, asking him to order Brendon to cease and desist.
Emmett Burns' letter stated that a member of the Baltimore Ravens shouldn't use his influence to try to "sway public opinion either way" and that he should "stick to football".
After seeing this letter, Brendon Ayanbadejo was appalled that a delegate would try to limit his rights [of free speech] that people have died for which allow him to speak freely about any issue (yes, even one this controversial Mr.Burns).
President, Dick Cass (after speaking with Steve Bisciotti) told BaltimoreRavens.com that the Baltimore Ravens front office will write Emmett Burns a response supporting Brendon's freedom of speech under the First Amendment.
Brendon Ayanbadejo (from BaltimoreRavens.com): "[He said] we're in support of you and it's good that you're able to voice your opinion and say how you feel. Dick personally told me, ‘We're not an organization that discriminates. "It really made my day that Dick Cass went out of his way to talk to me today and support me, and that it came down from Mr. Bisciotti. The Ravens organization is everything that I ever thought it was. It kind of made me feel even deeper rooted in this organization."
It is encouraging to me to see management standing by their players' (and all America's, for that matter) Constitutional rights against someone even as influential as Mister Emmett Burns.