What does an NFL linebacker do hours after his team gains entry into the Super Bowl? This year, the answer is not what you’d expect.
Brendon Ayanbadejo is a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens who has been outspoken about his defense of same-sex marriage.
Just after the Ravens got home from beating the Patriots in Boston he sent an email at 3:40AM to Brian Ellner, founder of New Yorkers for Marriage Equality, and Michael Skolnik, the political director for Russell Simmons. “Is there anything I can do for marriage equality or anti- bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media?” said Brendon.
The next day he told Frank Bruni this message was his “Jerry Maguire email.” Brendon said, “It’s one of those times when you’re really passionate and in your zone. And I got to thinking about all kinds of things, and I thought: how can we get our message out there?”
Ellner recently explained, “He understands that as a straight biracial player in the Super Bowl, he can have a huge impact on the future of this issue.”
But Brendon isn’t the only person going to the Super Bowl who has publicly spoken out about LGBT rights. The San Francisco 49ers were the first NFL franchise to film an “It Gets Better” video.
It should also be noted that former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, tried to use the Super Bowl as a platform for equality in 2010, but said the media didn’t seem to care enough about it. “I received a few media inquiries, and on Super Bowl media day I walked up and down radio row prepared to speak out on this and only a few folks really knew how to talk to me about it,” explained Scott. “Fast forward three years and I feel like we’re in a different world. People are asking all the right questions and I’m so glad Brendon is going to be there with some answers. It’s just a new world.”