It's been a tough week for Maryland politicians who misspeak badly and then have to correct themselves. First, there was Gov.
But the capper goes to Del.
"Upon reflection," the delegate told The Sun's Annie Linskey, "he has his First Amendment rights."
In politics, this is known as "walking back" a political position, but in football, it's closer to a player walking off the field in submission after realizing just how hard he was about to get hit. That Mr. Burns had to reacquaint himself with the First Amendment in the days after writing to
Kudos to Mr. Bisciotti, who backed his player and has acted honorably from the moment he received what could easily have been taken as an effort to intimidate. Ravens management could have asked their players to avoid politics, period. They might have worried that a state legislator had the power to affect their dealings with the
Mr. Ayanbadejo's support for same-sex marriage is notable not simply because Maryland voters will soon have a chance to weigh in on the issue but because the insular and macho world of professional sports is one of the last places in America where openly discussing sexual orientation is taboo. A high-profile cable news anchor can announce he is gay, and it hardly gets a second thought, but pro athletes (with some exceptions) are reluctant to discuss their views on the subject, let alone come out.
Although he is straight, Mr. Ayanbadejo has been a longtime supporter of gay rights, and he's already endorsed Maryland's same-sex marriage law in print and in an on-line video. Thanks to Mr. Burns' constitutionally questionable behavior, his views have now received considerable national attention, and the fracas has emboldened other
Make no mistake, Mr. Burns has a right to oppose same-sex marriage, although we believe it's fundamentally wrong to deny basic civil rights to families and their children on the basis of sexual orientation. But at least we can take the comfort in knowing that his efforts have helped mobilize support among NFL fans.
Ravens supporters have no doubt already taken notice of their linebacker whose support for the cause might be traced not to some desire for publicity but because he spent time in his mid-teens around an LGBT dorm at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where his step-father was the dorm's headmaster. He understands that denying legal rights to some people does not make a society better, it makes it worse. Fellow players who might have snickered at the thought of gay rights in another time are expressing their support.