Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has been cut from the team and he says his vocal support for marriage equality and gay rights played a factor.
“My bark is louder than my bite,” he told Newsday. “I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field. When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?”
The Super Bowl champ said that the Ravens can find players to do what he does for less money and admitted that his productivity has gone down in recent years.
“But, I don’t necessarily think that teams want this type of attention,” he added. “I was a vocal guy and garnered a lot of attention. I brought a lot of issues with me to the Super Bowl and the issues came up at the Super Bowl.”
The Ravens, however, were “surprised” by Ayanbadejo’s comments and insisted that he was released for “football reasons, period.”
“We have always respected Brendan’s opinions and his right to express them,” said Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne.
Ayanbadejo later confirmed Byrne’s statements in an interview with the Baltimore Sun Thursday night. “The Ravens have been backing me, they knew my stance for years and have been facilitating me and organizing me with LGBT and set me up with Equality Maryland,” Ayanabadejo said. ” They helped me.”
Although he’s ambivalent towards his future in the NFL, he plans to continue making noise with his advocacy.
“I’m really waiting for the NFL to [take a stance against discrimination], ” he said. “Instead of the NFL having to be reactive to those things I want them to be proactive because I care about the NFL and I care about the players in the NFL.”