NFL player Brendon Ayanbadejo bravely supports gay marriages
BY RICHARD ROEPER firstname.lastname@example.org March 9, 2011 7:28PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
You want to talk about a tough NFL player, talk about Brendon Ayanbadejo.
The Baltimore Ravens linebacker has posted a video in which he says, in part:
“Right now an important issue in [Maryland] is whether or not to allow gay and lesbian couples who love each other to marry.
“This should not be a subjective issue. Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons as we all do: love and commitment. It’s time to allow them the opportunity to build a family through marriage. It’s a matter of fairness . . .
“Churches can always have their beliefs, but government is supposed to treat everyone the same, and that’s equal. America is supposed to be the land of the free, but in order for this to be true for all of us, then we must have the ability to marry whom we love, regardless of their gender . . . Join me in the land of the brave, for standing on the side of love.”
If Elton John or Lady Gaga or Brangelina issue that statement, well, that’s what we’d expect. But to hear it from an NFL linebacker — and this is not the first time Ayanbadejo has stood up for gay marriage — you take notice. Anyone who thinks the NFL locker room culture isn’t less than enlightened about gay rights hasn’t spent any time in an NFL locker room. I’m not saying homophobia runs rampant in football, but I am saying Ayanbadejo is demonstrating a special kind of toughness by being so vocal about his beliefs.
Would the cowardly, anonymous homophobes who still think it’s an insult to call public figures “gay” or worse would ever have the guts to say that to Brendon’s face?
We all know the answer to that.
Caught on tape
You can’t defend the statements made by Ron Schiller, the former NPR executive caught on tape calling the Tea Party “seriously, racist people.”
That’s a dumb, sweeping statement in which an entire movement is painted with one brush. Any liberal or moderate who says, “All Republicans are [fill in the blank],” or, “Every single person in the Tea Party is a [this or that]” is participating in the same sort of stereotyping that liberals are supposed to abhor.
No excusing Schiller’s remarks. None.
But here’s my question about the whole caught-on-tape method: Would any of us be able to withstand the scrutiny if everything we said at work — in small meetings and in one-on-one conversations, at the water cooler, everything — was captured on tape?
Think about it. Think about what you say to a trusted colleague about the boss — or what you’ve said to a boss about a trusted colleague. Think about all the opinions you’ve offered on the ways of the world, from politics to education to race to sexual orientation to whatever is happening at your place of work, and what it would be like if all of those conversations were made public, uncensored.
I think we’d all be fired. Except there’d be nobody to fire us because all of our bosses would be gone as well.
Walk past a store in Wrigleyville and you’ll see the T-shirts with silk-screened images of Charlie Sheen’s grinning mug and instant catchphrases such as “WINNING” and “GODDESSES.”
Stroll into a popular bar in Old Town and you can order a Tiger’s Blood cocktail — a Bloody Mary with a sake base.
Go online and you can order a pouch of “Tiger’s Blood,” an energy potion with a label that says, “Bi-Winning . . . 100% Passion . . . Take more drugs than anyone can survive . . . Banging 7 gram rocks . . .” (The dark red “Tiger’s Blood” is actually “a delicious fruit punch-flavored energy shot packing 80mg of caffeine.”) Continue Googling and you’ll find vendors selling T-shirts with a rendition of the “Sober Valley Lodge” and slogans such as, “You Can’t Process Me With a Normal Brain,” and “I’ve Got Tiger Blood and Adonis DNA.”
It would have been an upset if there hadn’t been widespread efforts to make a few bucks while eliciting chuckles over a celebrity breakdown so insane it makes Bald Britney Spears and the Attack of the Umbrella seem almost charming. (Almost.)
But before you purchase that wacky T-shirt, you might want to consider where you’re going to wear it. In public? Because my guess if you’re walking around with a T-shirt that proclaims, “Winning!” 9 out of 10 people looking at you are going to think, “Not really you’re not.”
To follow Richard Roeper on Twitter, search for @richardroeper.