|Brendon Ayanbadejo (right) said teammates have tried to intervene on his pro-gay-marriage stance. (Getty Images)|
Neither Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo nor Vikings punter Chris Kluwe have shied away from supporting gay marriage in a public forum. They took a big-time step in their continued support of the highly-controversial issue Thursday when the pair filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing against the ban of gay marriage in California.
"I just think that there's obviously gay players in the NFL if you just look at the demographics and the percentage of gay people in society and plug those numbers in the NFL," Ayanbadejo said. "There's gay players and we've played with gay players and you've seen gay players come out post career and whatnot. So we're just slowly progressing every day, every month, every year to players being comfortable to be themselves. If they can be themselves they can be better players they can have longer careers.
"So it's just inevitable that at some point we're going to see a player come out and that's why we're fighting so hard to have equal rights so they'll be able to come out and be themselves."
Ayanbadejo's stance on gay marriage caused a stir in Baltimore, when a politician asked the Ravens to tell Ayanbadejo to back down. They didn't, and the linebacker says the team is "progressive" when it comes to their actions as a team.
"The Ravens are really progressive in everything they do," he told Jones and Moore. "Yes, they're aligned with me when it comes to non-discrimination and they believe in marriage equality. I had a long talk with Dick Cass about it and we talked in September how the Ravens don't support discrimination in any way shape or form and that includes same-sex marriage.
"They're not going to come out and make any statements but they did publicly back me."
Ayanbadejo might have the backing of his bosses, but he made it clear that he doesn't have the backing of all his teammates. In fact, the linebacker says that some players will sometimes try and intervene with his beliefs.
"A lot of times a good chunk of the guys say it's wrong to be gay, it's a sin, it says it in the Bible and other religions," Ayanbadejo said. "So that's one conversation that we have quite often and sometimes the guys try to set me up for an intervention and it doesn't really work because I stick to my guns."'
He also mentioned there are two other types of players who approach the issue: NFL players who are open to gay marriage or highly-religious NFL who are also open to gay marriage.
It's a fascinating -- although not surprising -- look inside the NFL locker room when it comes to an issue that divides people across the country.
And whether or not you agree with Ayanbadejo and Kluwe, it's good to see them take a stand for what they believe in.