Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a staunch supporter of marriage equality in Maryland who has been outspoken on the role of gay athletes, said that LGBT issues may have been one of the reasons he was cut from the team, a report published by New York’s Newsday hinted.
The linebacker had been with the team for five years, but saw his contract terminated on Wednesday as the Ravens make a number of offseason moves following their Super Bowl Championship.
He was attending the “Straight for Equality” gala in New York on Thursday night, where he and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe were honored for their support of marriage equality.
Ayanbadejo told Newsday that his “off the football field” activities may have been a factor in the Ravens’ decision.
“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?” he questioned.
“I don’t necessarily think that teams want this type of attention.”
But the Ravens front office said they were surprised by the player’s claims, saying that it was a football decision.
“We’re surprised that he would indicate this. We have always been respectful of Brendon’s opinions and his right to express those,” Senior Vice President of Community Relations Kevin Byrne told The Baltimore Sun. “Our decision regarding his departure from the team has everything to do with football. Nothing else.”