Super Bowl linebacker wants to leverage media to promote LGBT equality

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By Chris Huqueriza

For the Super Bowl, one of America’s most watched television event, Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo wishes to use the stage to progress LGBT rights however he can. 

A long-time supporter of marriage equality, Ayanbadejo said he’d love to dance with Ellen DeGeneres on her show if his team wins on February 3rd.

“That’s my ultimate goal after the Super Bowl. To go on Ellen’s show, to be dancing with her, to bust a move with her,” he said.

After his team won against the New England Patriots for a shot at Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers, he wrote an email to LGBT advocates Brian Ellner and Michael Skolnik asking, “Is there anything I can do for marriage equality or anti-bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media?”

Ayanbadejo has also conversed with the Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally, Hudson Taylor, and other LGBT advocates on bringing awareness of the LGBT community to the Super Bowl.

“He’s so excited and ready to take a stand in whatever way he can,” said Taylor. “He is leveraging the biggest sports stage in the world.”

Back in 2009, Ayanbadejo contributed an article to the Huffington Post expressing his support of the LGBT community. In that piece, he writes:

Maybe I am a man ahead of my time. However, looking at the former restrictions on human rights in our country starting with slavery, women not being able to vote, blacks being counted as two thirds of a human, segregation, no gays in the military (to list a few) all have gone by the wayside. But now here in 2009 same sex marriages are prohibited. I think we will look back in 10, 20, 30 years and be amazed that gays and lesbians did not have the same rights as every one else. How did this ever happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave?

New York Times Writer Frank Bruni profiled the Ravens linebacker after he got word of Ayanbadejo’s email regarding the leverage of Super Bowl media on behalf of the LGBT cause. 

In the interview, Bruni writes that, “Ayanbadejo’s support for gay rights reflects a childhood and youth during which he mingled with a diverse group of people, including many who were openly gay or lesbian. At one point, he told me, his stepfather was the resident director of an L.G.B.T. dorm at the University of California at Santa Cruz; the family, including Ayanbadejo, lived there.”

“It’s one of those times when you’re really passionate and in your zone,” Ayanbadejo told Bruni in regards to the team’s chance at the Super Bowl. “And I got to thinking about all kinds of things, and I thought: how can we get our message out there?”

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