Maryland Delegate Emmett Burns on
Sunday reversed course on Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon
Ayanbadejo's gay marriage advocacy.
Burns, who is also the pastor and
founder of the Rising Sun First Baptist Church, had informed Ravens
owner Steve Bisciotti that the team should not allow Ayanbadejo to
advocate in support of a gay marriage law on the November ballot in
“Upon reflection, he has his First
Amendment rights,” Burns, a Democrat, told the Baltimore Sun.
“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.”
Burns' actions prompted Minnesota
Vikings punter Chris Kluwe to pen a response in which he called Burns
“mindfucking obscenely hypocritical,” “closed minded” and
“totally lacking in empathy.”
Kluwe goes after lawmaker attacking Brendon Ayanbadejo over gay
Both Kluwe and Ayanbadejo have said
attitudes on the issue in the NFL have shifted dramatically.
“I think the culture in the NFL has
become a lot more tolerant in the last 10 years or so,” Kluwe told
The New York Times. “There's a younger generation coming in
every year or two, and they make me hopeful of the future.”
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres lauded
the athletes in a tweet: “I'm amazed and moved by your words.
You're two of the most courageous people I know.”
Sun reported that Burns would not say what prompted him to
change his mind.