Many people, including NFL football players, support gay rights and gay marriage. In 2012, Maryland had a ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo used his First Amendment right of free speech to express his support of the ballot initiative. Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. made a major mistake when he wrote to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and urged him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee.” Of course, Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. was urging Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to suppress the free speech of an employee—something that is illegal and unconstitutional. Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe showed a major talent for using free speech (he also made admirable use of invective) when he wrote a letter to Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. Here is an excerpt: “Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr., I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words): 1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should ‘inhibit such expressions from your employees,’ more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindf[*]cking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.” To his credit, Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. backed down and admitted that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo does have the right of free speech: “Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights. And I have my First Amendment rights. … Each of us has the right to speak our opinions. The football player and I have a right to speak our minds.”
For Further Information: Chris Kluwe, “’They Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster’: Chris Kluwe Explains Gay Marriage To The Politician Who Is Offended By An NFL Player Supporting It.” Deadspin. 7 September 2012 <http://deadspin.com/5941348/they-wont-magically-turn-you-into-a-lustful-cockmonster-chris-kluwe-explains-gay-marriage-to-the-politician-who-is-offended-by-an-nfl-player-supporting-it>. Also: Dom Cosentino, “Thanks To Chris Kluwe, Gay-Baiting Maryland Legislator Decides NFL Players Have A Right To Say What They Think After All.” 10 September 2012 <http://deadspin.com/5941865/thanks-to-chris-kluwe-gay+baiting-maryland-legislator-decides-nfl-players-have-a-right-to-say-what-they-think-after-all>.