With the national spotlight shining on the Super Bowl-bound Ravens this week, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is apparently hoping to divert some attention off the gridiron.
, just hours after Baltimore’s AFC championship win, Ayanbadejo directed an e-mail to marriage equality advocates asking how he could utilize the increased Super Bowl media to help support same-sex marriage.
Writing at 3:40 a.m. on Monday morning, according to Bruni, Ayanbadejo asked gay rights advocate Brian Ellner and Michael Skolnik, political director to Russell Simmons, whether there was “anything I can do for marriage equality or anti-bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media.”
Later dubbing the note his "Jerry Maguire email," a reference to the late-night mission statement penned by Tom Cruise’s character in the eponymous 1996 sports flick, Ayanbadejo told Bruni: "I got to thinking about all kinds of things, and I thought: how can we get our message out there?"
Throughout his week, Ayanbadejo has been - and will be - talking to gay-rights advocates about how to seize this moment. For example, he's been swapping emails with Hudson Taylor, the founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, a group dedicated to ridding sports at all levels - high school, college, professional - of homophobia.
Ayanbadejo’s ultimate goal is contingent on the outcome of the Super Bowl. His hope, he told Bruni, is that a Ravens’ Super Bowl victory gets him an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, where he can discuss gay rights and "bust a move with her."
This isn't the first time a missive about the Ravens linebacker’s outspoken stance on same-sex marriage has garnered national media attention. In September, leading up to Maryland’s ballot initiative on the issue, a Baltimore County politician
and urge him to "concentrate on football."
In response to that letter, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe – who has also received widespread attention for his views on gay rights –
supporting Ayanbadejo’s right to free expression.