1. Why are you so devoted to marriage equality advocacy? Do you feel your advocacy work will make it easier for players – both those currently in the NFL and those on the way up – to come out?
At the end of the day, we are trying to reach a destination. There are various paths we will take along this journey to equality. Marriage equality, anti-bullying and straight allies will expedite this process the fastest, in my opinion. Legislation, families, kids and the majority are incorporated in my scope.
2. You have mentioned that a number of NFL players may come out soon. How do you feel NFL fans will receive them?
We are talking with professional athletes, not just those in the NFL. There will be some negative feed-back, but the overwhelming majority of fans will be supportive. But that will not prevent homophobic language from fans – that is why our work now is so important to create a safe environment.
3. Do you feel that a player’s sexual orientation actually can have a negative impact on an NFL locker room? Why?
People’s sexual orientation right now has an impact in more than just locker rooms; it also has an impact in politics and everyday social life. It’s pretty ridiculous that people are not judged on merit and character – but instead on factors that have nothing to do with performance, ability or character.
4. To what do you attribute the new groundswell of support for marriage equality we are seeing in Congress and throughout the U.S.?
We see a lot of Republicans coming out for equality because a lot of their views are antiquated. I appreciate the support but I am not sure of the sincerity. You shouldn’t support an issue you have always opposed because you find out your twenty-two year-old child is affected by it. More than anything it is the right thing to do and eventually America will get it right.
5. When anti-gay remarks were made by an NFL player (Chris Culliver) leading up to the recent Super Bowl, what surprised you more: that an NFL player would make such remarks on the sport’s biggest stage, or the huge backlash the comments received?
Neither one surprised me. I hear similar comments every day walking down the street; being an ally I know the vigor and fierceness and passion of the LGBT community, which is no less fierce than the equal rights communities of the ‘60s and ‘70s – from Black Panthers to non-violence MLK Jr. approaches – both passionate, but completely different journeys to the same destination of equality.
Brendon Ayanbadejo is an American football linebacker of the National Football League who is currently a free agent. He was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 1999. He played college football for the UCLA Bruins. Ayanbadejo has been a very vocal advocate of gay rights and marraige equality.