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Brendon Ayanbadejo: Kluwe was Cut For Gay Marriage Support

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Jan 3, 2014
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Brendon Ayanbadejo
Brendon Ayanbadejo  (Source:AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Former Baltimore Ravens player Brendon Ayanbadejo told TMZ Friday that friend and fellow LGBT rights advocate Chris Kluwe is "100 percent right" about his allegations that he was cut from the Minnesota Vikings for his highly publicized support of marriage equality.

"I’ve been saying it all along from the start," Ayanbadejo said. "You’re talking about a guy that’s the first or second punting category in terms of performance in Minnesota Vikings history and then all of a sudden, everything was going smooth -- and then he goes out there and he’s a good guy and coach Frasier preached to be a good person and do the right thing and he does that -- and all of a sudden he’s no longer on the team. He’s absolutely right. I’ve been saying it all along and it’s a pretty jacked up situation."

"He could have done what every other player does and fed the hunger, and went to schools and talked about how important education was," the athlete continued. "But he felt like he had a larger calling and wanted to address inequalities in our society. So he went and he did that even though the NFL tries to keep you in a box in terms of your philanthropy, he went out there and did what he thought was right. Would he probably be in the league today if he went to speak at schools and continued to do hunger drives or cancer awareness type of stuff? Yeah, he’d probably still be in the NFL."

"But Chris did what was right for him and you have to play the game," he said. "So Chris didn’t reveal everything that he knew in the way he was feeling until he knew his career was over... now that he feels like his career is over and he can tell the truth."

Ayanbadejo went on to say that he was "dumbfounded" about how Kluwe was allegedly treated and by the anti-gay language that sports officials like Vikings specialist teams coach Mike Priefer allegedly used.

Ayanbadejo’s reactions are to a scathing article Kluwe wrote for Deadspin, where he claimed he was cut from the Vikings because of his staunch support for marriage equality. A number of officials have reacted to the piece, including Priefer, who denies ever using anti-gay language.

"I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe," Priefer said in a statement. "I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member. The primary reason I entered coaching was to affect people in a positive way."

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