Brendon Ayanbadejo has been a staunch supporter for gay rights and his open support is admirable considering the culture of football. However, after being cut this week, Ayanbadejo used his civil rights stance as a cop out for the reason he was cut by the Baltimore Ravens.
Ayanbadejo signed a three-year, $3.22 million contract last season, and was due $940,000 this upcoming season. With the Ravens dealing with salary cap issues, the decision to cut Ayanbadejo gives the Ravens an additional $807,000 in cap space.
Another factor in Ayanbadejo’s release is the fact that he is 36 years old. With other grizzled veterans like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed gone, the Ravens are skewing younger and Ayanbadejo is pretty long in the tooth. With Ayanbadejo gone, the Ravens only have two players in their 30’s: fullback Vonta Leach (31) and cornerback Chris Johnson (30).
However, despite Ayanbadejo getting older and the Ravens in a salary cap pinch, Ayanbadejo stated that he thinks his release has something to do with his outspoken support of gay marriage. He created quite a stir last season, taking on Maryland Delegate Emmett Burns, after Burns wrote a letter to Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti basically telling him to stifle and censor his employee’s support of gay marriage.
Whether it was on television, radio or through social media, Ayanbadejo was extremely vocal in his support of equal rights for homosexuals. Ayanbadejo became a bit of a lightning rod for his stance, especially in the macho world of the NFL, but overall his efforts have been lauded for supporting gay rights.
Thus, with Ayanbadejo getting up there in age all the while being viewed as a pioneer for gay rights in the realm of football, his comments about being cut in part to his political views sounds like sour grapes. Ayanbadejo knows the financial straits the Ravens are facing. With a plethora of draft picks to be signed after the approaching draft, there simply isn’t enough money to go around.
Ayanbadejo still has gas left in the tank, especially on special teams. But with all things considered, his release is more of a business decision than it is a personal one. If he hopes to catch on with a new team, he may want to keep some of his feelings to himself moving forward.
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