Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. probably had quite a weekend. After Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo expressed his support for Maryland's upcoming ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage, Burns wrote a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti that basically said football players who disagree with Burns should know their place and keep quiet. That, of course, drew this reply from Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.
In the wake of Kluwe's remarks, Burns initially defended his letter, saying something on Friday about it being best for "a public person representing a public team" to avoid saying anything controversial. But in a weekend phone interview with the Baltimore Sun, Burns finally relented:
"Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights. And I have my First Amendment rights. … Each of us has the right to speak our opinions. The football player and I have a right to speak our minds."
Gee. Who knew? Ayanbadejo told the Sun Burns's backtracking was "a little too late from a damage control perspective." The Ravens linebacker also told the newspaper how much sentiment on the topic seems to be changing in NFL locker rooms:
His advocacy used to lead to "snickers in the locker room" and a jokes that he is gay (he is not).
Not anymore. He said at least 10 teammates have offered support in recent days. The switch in attitude, he said, "has happened faster than I ever thought it would happen."
Translation: It's getting better.
Burns backs off bid to silence Ravens player [Baltimore Sun]
PREVIOUSLY: "They Won't Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster": Chris Kluwe Explains Gay Marriage To The Politician Who Is Offended By An NFL Player Supporting It
Here's Chris Kluwe Explaining Why He Wrote Today's Response To An Anti-Gay Marriage Politician