When Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo spoke out in favor of a Maryland ballot initiative that would legalize gay marriage, state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote to Ayanbadejo's boss, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, urging him to "inhibit such expressions from your employee."
"Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other," Burns wrote on Aug. 29, 2012. "Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement."
Ayanbadejo today made his first public comments since the Burns sent the letter.
"I was surprised. Just what our country was founded on, for someone to try to take that away from me, I was pretty surprised that something like that would come up, especially from a politician," Ayanbadejo said.
But Ayanbadejo's response was quite mild compared to the response of Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, in the form of a letter to Burns published this afternoon on DeadSpin.com
[EXCLUSIVE: Kluwe will be on The Ed Show tonight at 8pET on msnbc!].
The letter is filled with insults and obscenities, a lot of kick as you might expect from a punter. Here's how the letter opens, along with some of the cleaner excerpts:
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):
Kluwe then accuses Burns of attempting to violate the First Amendment's freedom of speech provision to the U.S. Constitution:
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.
On Burns' comment that Ayanbedejo's view on marriage-equality "has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement," Kluwe wrote:
"As someone who's "deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland"? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have "no place in a sport"?
Kluwe then tried to assure Burns that gay marriage is no threat to his way of life:
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won't come into your house and steal your children. They won't magically turn you into a lustful c***monster. They won't even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
[Click here to see the full letter (again, be warned: it is laced with vulgar language).]
Kluwe is no novice to the marriage equality issue. In July, the husband and father of two daughters produced a radio ad on behalf of Minnesotans For Equality opposing a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage.
Take a listen:
ALERT: Kluwe will be an exclusive guest tonight on The Ed Show at 8pET on msnbc!!