by Leah Waldron
Roman Catholic, pro-life activist, and Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk must have been sitting on his hands all pre-season as teammate Brendan Ayanbadejo got national props for supporting gay marriage. With Maryland gearing up to vote on gay marriage this November, the topic was probably being tossed around the Ravens locker room before the August controversy, when Maryland pastor Emmett C. Burns Jr. scolded the team’s owner, Steve Bisciotti, for permitting his linebacker to publicly support gay marriage (Burns was a Maryland delegate at the RNC at the time).
Birk may have remained quiet on the issue, but his former teammate Chris Kluwe (Birk played center for the Vikings, too) got involved, defending Ayanbadejo in a scathing letter to Burns, whom he called “mind-bogglingly stupid” for stepping on Ayanbadejo’s freedom of speech. Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell weighed in on the controversy, stating that Ayanbadejo, like any NFL player, had a right to express his opinion. That seemed to make everyone—even those on the fence about NFL players supporting gay marriage—happy and ready for some football.
Except, of course, Matt Birk.