Monday, September 10, 2012

Game over: the NFL effect

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is a supporter of marriage equality. Remarkably, an elected official, Maryland state delegate (and preacher) Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote the owner of the Ravens a letter (PDF) demanding that Aynbadejo be silenced for daring to express an opinion to that effect. The NFL doesn't limit its employees' speech,  so nothing came of it.

Then, a colorful response to Delegate Burns came from punter Chris Kluwe of the MInnesota Vikings. Although ridden with profanity, it's quite funny and has created an internet storm of approval. Indeed, the only person coming out of this badly is the Delegate attempting to silence someone with whom he disagrees.

 Both Maryland and Minnesota have Prop-H8 style amendments on the ballot this election. I hope the players "coming out for equality" will have an effect in those states.

  Writes a columnist in the Sun-Times,
I don’t want to spend the whole column quoting Kluwe, but he asks Burns a question that should be put to all fearful haters who believe a few lines in their particular faith’s special book will excuse their loathsome bias forever: “Why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you?” 
Now other NFL players are also speaking out. Which should remind the bigots-hiding-behind-Bibles that when you’ve lost pro athletes, you’ve lost. Freedom is a one-way street. Blacks don’t contemplate a return to slavery. Women don’t agonize whether getting the vote was a good or bad thing. Having fought their way out of the closet and tasted the joys of daily life, unafraid and unashamed, gay people are never going back. That’s just a fact. You can be among those who helped, or you can be a stumbling block, but the end result will be the same. Me, I went online and joined the Chris Kluwe Fan Club.

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