If you haven’t enjoyed this elsewhere already, here’s the background: Recently, Baltimore Raven linebacker Brandon Ayanbadejo angered State Del. Emmett C. Burns, Jr for publicly speaking in favor of Maryland’s legislation for marriage equality. Delegate Burns wrote to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti: “I am requesting that you take the necessary action … to inhibit such expressions from your employee.”
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe heard about this. He penned the following:
Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr.,
I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):
1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should “inhibit such expressions from your employees,” more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.
2. “Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement.” Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who’s “deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland”? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you’re going to say that political views have “no place in a sport”? I can’t even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for “beautiful oppressionism”).
3. This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about penis? “Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!” Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I’m fairly certain you might need it.
P.S. I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing” and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.”
Three thoughts, two of them admittedly quite obvious to most sentient folks:
First, equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans is the civil rights battle of our time. It is a right-and-wrong, where-did-you-stand-in-the-fight moment in precisely the same way that equal rights for people of color was the defining moral question for previous generations. That there are many African-Americans who resent the comparison, who argue correctly that race is not a matter of choice, yet mistakenly believe that sexual identity can be mitigated, or, just as wrongly, believe that such a distinction even matters to any citizen’s right to equal treatment, is just tragic. One would love to believe that human beings — especially those who know intimately the sting of intolerance — could more readily transform past pain into present empathy. But the human heart is sometimes less expansive than poets like to claim, and we are a species too often required to learn the same hard and grievous lessons again and again.
Second, that Delegate Burns occupies a seat in my state’s legislative body and has no fundamental grasp of democratic principle, and specifically, our shared right to speak freely and seek redress — this is an embarrassment to the General Assembly, to the Democratic Party, and to Maryland as a whole. His letter to Mr. Ayanbadejo’s employer is just an astounding, McCarthyite abuse of his position; it deserves the formal censure of the House of Delegates.
Third, if the Baltimore Ravens will at any point trade for Mr. Kluwe, I promise to double-down on my season tickets and purchase a second pair of seats. And if we have no practical need for a second punter, then perhaps there is an English or political science department at a Maryland university willing to immediately offer Mr. Kluwe a tenure-track position. If this fellow is encouraged to continue his newfound career as either an essayist or political scientist, I promise to contribute heartily to the endowment of that discerning institution of higher learning. Mr. Kluwe can do a lot more for society than kick a football.
I’ll say no more, pausing now to look up the word “fromunda.” Today is indeed a day that I get to learn something new.