When the Baltimore Ravens were honored by the President of the United States Wednesday at the White House, one choose to skip the chance to go based on his religious and political affiliation.
Recently retired center Matt Birk is a staunch supporter of the Republican Party but even more so, a deeply religious man whose personal views greatly differ from the current administration. In a story posted on NFL.com, Birk explained that he decided to forego the traditional Super Bowl Champions visit due to a recent comment made by President Barack Obama, when, according to Birk, he said, "God bless Planned Parenthood."
To explain his stance, Birk said:
"Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement and I just felt like I couldn't deal with that. I couldn't endorse that in any way."
The story goes on to say that Obama did not actually say those exact words, but to Birk it was enough to seal the deal on his decision not to attend the festivities. The decision could be debated on whether the visit should be looked at as anything other than a fun tradition, but each man is free to make whatever decision they want on a variety of reasons (see Bernard Pollard).
Even Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti wasn't able to rearrange his personal schedule and was forced to miss the event as well. The Ravens choose to avoid any discussion on Birk's decision, as there is nothing on their site mentioning his absence.