Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RAVES!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 08/09/12

Bigot Gets Punted!

To set the scene:

Back in the mid-80s, I was quite a fan of what the Americans call 'football', and what the rest of the world calls 'what!!?'. I knew then, and have known since, that although most of the players in the NFL are college graduates, this is largely because an awful lot of US colleges think they are defined by the success of their athletics program rather than more intellectual achievements. Such was one of the reasons why Penn State turned a blind eye to the serial criminality of Jerry Sandusky.

It is therefore unusual to find a pro football player on the enlightened side of an issue, at least in public, and less still when that issue causes that unhappy land's mental-fundyists and their political stooges to start fits of screaming petulance.

In the state of Maryland in November, there will be a ballot on an initiative in favour of marriage equality. As part of the campaign, Baltimore Ravens' linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo appeared in a video to endorse the initiative.

This got severely up the sniffy nose of one Delegate to the state's General Assembly, one Emmett C. Burns, Jr. (Democrat, Baltimore County), who wrote to the Ravens' owner Steve Bisciotti, insisting that he (Bisciotti) "...inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions.".

Note the language: "...inhibit such expressions...", "...cease and desist...". It's almost as if there had never been a United States Constitution, isn't it? And Maryland practically surrounds the District of Columbia, wherein sits the political and judicial heart of the very system set up under that fine document.

The Ravens' front office have strongly supported Ayanbadejo's constitutionally-protected rights (although it probably helps that the players' union in the NFL is one of the few powerful unions left in the country and that many of its members are publicly prominent and wealthier than your average office or factory stiff). Ayanbadejo has himself made a clear statement of his surprise at an elected official coming up with such claptrap.

It probably needed a stronger response still, however, and Emetic Burns has now received one courtesy of Ayanbadejo's fellow professional Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Twins. In a public response, he rips the asshole a second one with a combination of historical and constitutional awareness somewhat beyond that displayed by Burns himself, allied with a turn of phrase which gives vituperation a good name.

I won't spoil it any further for you; you can read and enjoy Kluwe's full reply here, and realise that there might be hope for America yet.

(Tip of the wig to BoingBoing)