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Super Bowl-Bound Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo Wants to Raise LGBT Visibility

By Sunnivie Brydum

Baltimore Ravens linebacker and outspoken equality advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo wants to capitalize on his team's Super Bowl publicity to further advocate for marriage equality, he told The New York Times' Frank Bruni. 

Just a few hours after his team crushed the Super Bowl hopes of the New England Patriots, Ayanbadejo was hopped up on adrenaline and penned an early-morning letter to Brian Ellner, a marriage equality advocate with whom Ayanbadejo has previously worked, and Russell Simmons, a hip-hop mogul who has spoken out in favor of marriage equality, asking how he can use the impending publicity to raise visibility for LGBT rights. 

According to Bruni, Ayanbadejo wrote, “Is there anything I can do for marriage equality or anti-bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media?” Bruni also noted that the time stamp on the email was 3:40:35 a.m.

Bruni reached out to Ayanbadejo on Tuesday, seeking further comment about what the athlete referred to as his "Jerry Maguire email."

Bruni writes, "'It’s one of those times when you’re really passionate and in your zone,' Ayanbadejo told me, referring to Maguire’s movie moment and to his own real-life one, in the wee hours of Monday morning. 'And I got to thinking about all kinds of things, and I thought: how can we get our message out there?'"

The NFL player was active in Maryland's successful effort to enact marriage equality at the ballot box last year and penned a pro-equality op-ed for The Huffington Post back in 2009. Last year, he caught up with The Advocate's Michelle Garcia to talk equality in the locker room, on the field, and in the legislature.

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