Ayanbadejo hints his release may be due to gay marriage stance

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The Ravens officially announced the termination of Brendon Ayanbadejo’s contract on Thursday – a move that didn’t surprise many who follow the team. Ayanbadejo was an extremely well compensated special teams player and contributed very little on the defensive side of the ball.

During his 10 seasons in the NFL, Ayanbadejo was never a high-profile player – until he took a very public stance in support of same-sex marriage. With the macho persona of football players, Ayanbadejo’s stance was one many assumed wouldn’t be popular in the locker room.

Speaking with Tom Rock of Newsday about his release, Ayanbadejo hinted that his advocacy and strong public presence might have affected the Ravens’ willingness to allow him to finish his contract with the team, which would have expired after the 2014 season.

“I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field,” said Ayanbadejo. “When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?”

The extremely image-conscious and public relations-friendly Ravens will probably not take kindly to their former employee’s remarks.

For Ayanbadejo to make such a statement, he must have felt some animosity inside the Ravens locker room. Ayanbadejo’s former teammate Matt Birk was very public with his stance against same-sex marriage, and even filmed a video for the Minnesota Catholic Conference. Even though they had opposing views, both players were cordial in their disagreements.

Ayanbadejo also added, “I don’t necessarily think that teams want that kind of attention.”

Regardless of whether Ayanbadejo’s comments were factual or not, this should most likely be chalked up to his disappointment over being released. The Ravens haven’t ever publicly declared their stance on the issue but both the franchise and head coach John Harbaugh have supported players’ rights to free speech under the First Amendment.

Ayanbadejo’s comments – true or not – may not been the best thing to say as he begins to search for a new team. Regardless of his public stances, he’ll be 37 years old by the time the regular season kicks off and will have to be paid the veteran minimum (likely for only special teams play).

As if the odds weren’t stacked against him enough, this may make it even more difficult for him to get a new job. Why would a team bring him in for a tryout, with the chance that he could turn around and question their motives if they decide not to offer him a contract?

Update: The Ravens issued the following response, per the Baltimore Sun:

“We’re surprised that he would indicate this. We have always been respectful of Brendon’s opinions and his right to express those,” said Kevin Byrne, the Ravens’ senior vice president for public and community relations. “Our decision regarding his departure from the team has everything to do with football. Nothing else.”

Update II: Ayanbadejo posted this comment to his Facebook, believing his was misunderstood. Also, Ayanbadejo continues to throw himself under the bus by saying a team could sign someone to do his job cheaper. I’m sure his agent isn’t too happy.

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About Kris Jones

Kris Jones
Kris - or "Goob" as he's widely known - has turned an obsession into a career. As a media member by day and super fan by night, he reports from the Under Armour Performance Center twice per week and brings Ravens news from a fan's perspective. His popular YouTube series...more

17 Raves on “Ayanbadejo hints his release may be due to gay marriage stance

  1. Mike in Gradonville on said:

    Brendon Ayanbadejo, no big loss. As for his personal convictions he can keep them to himself, as the majority of Americans don’t approve of his mindset. Low impact player, low future prospect, low information voter. So long!

    • Anonymous on said:

      He’s a class act. If one hasn’t evolved enough as a human to understand his views on marriage equality, I simply suggest they remove themselves from the gene pool.

      • ddbs00 on said:

        I love how when someone disagrees with the “correct” mindset regarding any issue that person is either called names, has violence wished upon him, or it’s suggested that he kills himself, as you have with the original commenter. Mike may not be the class act you think BA is, but neither are you.

      • Anonymous on said:

        That is a really good way to promote gay marriage. Remove themselves from the gene pool? Free speech goes both ways

    • Rob in Florida on said:

      Actually, polling in 2013 showed that 53% of Americans are in favor of what Ayanbadejo supports. That, and regardless of your disrespectful insinuation that he’s a ‘low information voter,’ when the Supreme Court determines that they can’t bar same sex marriage, and it becomes legal, you’re going to look just as stupid being a bigot now as the bigots did when you were trying to prevent interracial marriage.

  2. Sascha on said:

    I liked Ayanbadejo until he started suggesting that his political views had something to do with his release. This team has always been about football. It didn’t matter when Ray Lewis was charged with murder or when Jamal Lewis went to jail. This team focuses on performance on the field and behavior as a teammate. I have trouble believing that a player’s views on an issue like gay marriage factored at all into the front office’s decision-making.

    In fairness, Ayanbadejo didn’t outright say that he thought the front office cut him for that reason. But just by hinting at that possibility, he’s generated a lot of headlines and speculation. As a veteran, he should know better.

  3. Anonymous on said:

    As it turns out, the majority of Americans DO agree with his stance on this issue. Guess we’ll never really know if it had anything to do with his release, though…

  4. Square357 on said:

    Anyone else get the opinion Brendon may be gay? Nothing at all wrong with it, just always got that vibe from him and I think it’s great that he fights for what he believes in in spite of the consequences.

  5. Anonymous on said:

    People seem to rely heavily on Polls to form their opinions and state facts. Most “Polls” information is not properly collected nor analyzed. You can’t poll a couple thousand people and generalize to an entire population. Anyone can do a poll, it doesn’t mean that it has significant results. One would have to study the results to make such broad claims. Again, polls are manipulated and information is not accurately summarized. Questions can be worded to give ambiguous answers.

  6. Rumor Ray on said:

    I call Bull Crap on all of this banter… The real issue us that after he is released he then hinted that it was due to his stance on the issue not on the real reason of the cost of keeping a vet on the team. Edwin Mulitalo #64 was released due to that same reason and that one hurt us fans because we all loved him. BA should have kept to the Thanking Baltimore and the Fans for his wonderful years here and then shut his mouth. However everyone is granted the right to free speech in the USA. The issue is that not everyone has the knowledge of when to keep your mouth shut. In the words of the comic Ron White, “I Had the Right to Remain Silent…But I Didn’t Have the Ability”

  7. HollywoodHeiz on said:

    “We may never know what really happened. But one thing is for sure: Activism aside, Ayanbadejo is out of a job for now. “

  8. Anonymous on said:

    Considering MD voted FOR same sex marriage during the last major election, Maryland definitely agrees with his views. If you’re against it, you’re definitely in the minority in this state and very likely, the country at large.

  9. One Person's View on said:

    I respect everyone’s right to an opinion. I may not agree with the opinion, but everyone has a right to one. However, there is a proper time and place to express it and I don’t believe the workplace is the place to do it. Most people do not express personal opinions on politics, religion or social issues in the workplace. It is frowned upon. Unless you are hired by a newspaper or website to express those opinion’s publicly, I believe they should be expressed privately among friends and family. Football is entertainment, just like TV, movies, etc. People who watch sports want an escape from day to day reality and problems. The last thing they want is to read about their sports heroes talking about hot button social issues. The focus here should be football. If you don’t want gay football players to be the issue, stop talking about the issue. Otherwise, you make yourself the issue. The Ravens treated B.A. with kindness and respect the entire time he was here. Now, he is stating the Ravens released him because of his views. You just dissed the best organization in football that gave you millions of dollars and this is how you thank them. I don’t blame them if they never bring you back.

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