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Late For Work 4/5: Brendon Ayanbadejo Upset, Says Not Cut For Gay Rights Views


Ayanbadejo 'Going Ham,' Says Not Cut For Gay Rights Views

Newsday published an article claiming that Brendon Ayanbadejo said his outspoken advocacy for gay rights and same-sex marriage was one reason for being cut by the Ravens.

The linebacker quickly took to Twitter to set the record straight.

Ayanbadejo said the article was an example of yellow journalism and made it clear that his release from the team had nothing to do with his views and everything to do with football, including the salary cap, his age and production.

"Just a heads up I did an interview today and no way said I was cut because my views," Ayanbadejo tweeted last night. "I said my talk was louder than my production & at 36 when you are not producing it is a fair move. You can find cheaper guys to do what I do. Ravens are the BEST organization in the nfl period!

"Haven't read article that was published. I will be all over the news this week setting it straight! Don't believe EVERYTHING u read. I'm going ham on #nflam in the morning"

Ayanbadejo was quoted by Newsday as saying his outspoken views on gay rights brought a lot of unwanted attention.

"My bark is louder than my bite,'' he told Newsday's Tom Rock. "I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field. When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?"

He added: "I don't necessarily think that teams want this type of attention."

In a statement to Newsday, Ravens Vice President of Public Relations Kevin Bryne said the team was surprised that Ayanbadejo would indicate he was cut for his views, adding: "He was released for football reasons, period."

Ayanbadejo also appears surprised by the conclusion of the article

The organization has a history of publicly supporting Ayanbadejo's right to speak out on gay rights, or any other issue, and even stood up to a government official for that right.

Maryland Delegate Emmett Burns (Baltimore County) sent a letter to Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti last year asking him to intervene and "inhibit such expressions from your employee."

At first, Ayanbadejo was nervous that his actions could affect the Baltimore fan base and didn't know how Ravens brass would react.  But team officials spoke with him, and told him that they would support his right to express his opinion.

"It really made my day that [President] Dick Cass went out of his way to talk to me today and support me, and that it came down from Mr. Bisciotti," Ayanbadejo said in September. "The Ravens organization is everything that I ever thought it was. It kind of made me feel even deeper rooted in this organization."

In an effort to discredit Newsday's article, Ayanbadejo referenced that support and showed he hasn't forgotten it.

"Dick Cass and the @ravens had my back all year," he tweeted last night. "Why would I say I was cut cuz my views? Makes no sense. Biscotti Harbaugh Ozzie &other folks in the organization called me & thanked me. I told them all it was the best experience to be a raven."

Prior to the article being published, the Ravens had already released a statement saying that the door was open to bringing him back.

Ayanbadejo was the first player to be signed in the Harbaugh era in 2008 and went to the Pro Bowl that year. Harbaugh has a strong relationship with Ayanbadejo and considered him one of the team leaders. The head coach praised the 36-year-old veteran for giving him "sound counsel."

"He was a pleasure to have on our team," Harbaugh said in a statement yesterday. "We'll stay in contact, I hope, but I'll miss our regular conversations."

If there was still any doubt of Ayanbadejo's position on why he was cut, he made it clear when a Twitter follower asked, "Do you really think your release is more about politics than football, BA? just wondering...."

“Absolutely not,” he replied.

Thoughtful Take On Recent Cuts

While we are on the topic of why Ravens players have been released, a trendy theory is that the team has been getting rid of outspoken veterans, especially a handful that vocalized their opinions in what has become the infamous "mutiny" meeting following the Week 7 loss to the Texans.

But The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec isn't completely buying that theory, saying almost all the releases the team has made thus far were made for football reasons.

"[I]t does seem like every roster defection is now accompanied by questions about the exiting player's relationship with Harbaugh," Zrebiec wrote. "Sure, the Ravens have lost or have gotten rid of some of their most outspoken players. I'm not saying that's a complete coincidence, but I don't think that was the impetus behind many of the moves either.

"In just about all the cases, the biggest factors have been money, age and performance. That's what it comes down to NFL-wide."

Zrebiec said it's been "popular" for media and fans to* *point to that Week 7 meeting, but to attribute players' exits to that day is "a little much."

"After all, everybody seemed to coexist just fine during the Super Bowl run and [Bernard] Pollard and [Ed] Reed were among numerous Ravens to heap praise on Harbaugh along the way."

Suggs Keeping Strict Workout Diet, Routine

When Muscle and Fitness magazine asked Terrell Suggs if he might be a little guilty of cheating in his offseason workouts, the Ravens linebacker said he wouldn't allow himself to do that, even in the smoldering heat of Arizona, because he knows how important his recovery is from bicep and Achilles tendon injuries.

"You know what, usually I could cheat [my diet] a little bit more, but I can't this year," Suggs said. "Like I said, coming back off the injury, I have to keep it strict."

As for his workouts, Suggs says he added a few more routines, including biometrics, to his regimen to help his recovery.

"I usually do a lot of pass rush stuff, working on [coverage] drops – definitely before it gets hot," he said. "Even when it does get hot, I just don't do it as much, since I train* *in Phoenix, Arizona. But this year, I'm definitely going to be a little more strict."


Quick Hits

  • In reference to the picture of Reed throwing out the first pitch … @RussellStReport [local website]: Wouldn't it be a great way to say goodbyeto Ed Reed (@TwentyER)  if this happened again on Opening Day? [Twitter]
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