Monday, September 10, 2012

Maryland Lawmaker Emmett Burns Tells Baltimore Ravens to Silence Pro-Gay Rights Player // CONTROVERSY ERUPTS

UPDATE: A new Baltimore Sun editorial scorches Delegate Emmett Burns Jr. for his censorship effort. They think he's not fit for office (excerpt below): 
BALTIMORE SUN: That Mr. Burns had to reacquaint himself with the First Amendment ... suggests he has neither the temperament nor the basic understanding of government and law to continue in office. The fact that the use of his office letterhead for the purpose may have violated General Assembly ethics rules only underscores the point....

AN EMBARRASSMENT TO MARYLAND DEMOCRATS - If you haven't heard about the recent controversy surrounding Maryland lawmaker Emmett Burns Jr, you're missing out on one of the most idiotic stories of the year. Hat tip: Todd Eberly of the Free Stater blog

Delegate Burns, a Baltimore area Democrat, represents District 10 in the State House. He is also apparently against both free speech and marriage equality. Burns is now the subject of a national, viral news story after he tried to get the Baltimore Ravens to silence one of their players (linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo) for publicly endorsing marriage equality. See a synopsis of the story below.

Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is Pro-LGBT rights (source: Instagram)

Here's a brief review of the controversy involving Maryland Delegate Emmett Burns Jr, the Baltimore Ravens, and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo:

STEP 1: Baltimore Ravens Player Endorses Marriage Equality - Last October, Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo taped an endorsement video for the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign. You can watch the endorsement below:

STEP 2: Delegate Emmett Burns Jr. Writes a Letter to the Ravens Demanding Censorship - Many months after Brendon Ayanbadejo's endorsement, Delegate Burns decided to do something about it. So he wrote a letter (on official Maryland letterhead) to the Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, demanding that the team silence their linebacker's views in favor of civil rights. Yahoo! Sports obtained a copy of the lawmaker's letter to the Ravens (excerpt below):
Delegate Emmett Burns Jr.

DELEGATE EMMETT BURNS JR: As a Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly and a Baltimore Raven Football fan, I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadeo, would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically, as a Raven Football player....

Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is stricly for pride, entertainment and excitement. I believe Mr. Ayanbadeo should concentrate on football....

I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee.... Please give me your immediate response....

STEP 3: Baltimore Ravens Stand By Free Speech Rights of Players - After receiving notice of Delegate Burns' ridiculous complaints, Brendon Ayanbadejo didn't back down. In fact, he received an outpouring of support at his Twitter account (@brendon310), where much of the story has evolved. The Baltimore Ravens also stood by their players' free speech rights with the following message on Twitter:

STEP 4: Minnesota Vikings Kicker Issues Scathing "Cockmonster" Letter to Delegate Burns - Apparently Delegate Burns' attempt to silence the views of Brendon Ayanbadejo didn't go over well with others in the NFL. Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe made waves by stepping into a fray with a scathing letter to Delegate Burns. The long and detailed letter contains many noteworthy quotes. You can see the full letter at the Dead Spin site, but we provide a few choice excerpts below:
VIKINGS PUNTER CHRIS KLUWE: Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr., I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland's state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):

1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom....

2. "Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement." Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who's "deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland"? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have "no place in a sport"...

I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won't come into your house and steal your children. They won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster....
Best of luck in the next election; I'm fairly certain you might need it.

STEP 5: Delegate Burns Trying to Back Away from His Comments - The Baltimore Sun is now reporting that Delegate Burns is trying to walk back his comments (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: After drawing national attention for his attempt to muzzle a football player who supported gay rights, a Maryland delegate walked back his position Sunday and said Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo should be allowed to speak out in favor of same-sex marriage.

"Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights," Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, said in a telephone interview. "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...."

ENOUGH OF THE DINOSAUR POLITICS: Maryland Juice suspects that Delegate Emmett Burns Jr. thought this preachy letter would be a good way to try and score some political points. But once again, it is clear that Dinosaur politicians who are unable to game out the public opinion changes that are rapidly occurring are embarrassing themselves. Time to wheel the dinosaurs off the stage!

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