Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Football Player Schools A Member Of Congress

You may not know this, but there’s a big football game this weekend – apparently, they still play games even after the Chicago Bears have been eliminated; I know, right? – and it’s between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Some people will probably watch it, even though the odds of the Bears winning are remarkably low.
In any event, while jerky 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was being a jerk on media day earlier this week, the Ravens’ Brendan Ayanbadejo was standing tall. After Maryland became one of the nine states in the union to recognize same sex marriage last November, Ayanbadejo, an avid supporter of marriage equality, was pleased:
The Baltimore Ravens special teamer celebrated the historic legalization of same-sex union after the ballot passed during Tuesday night’s elections.
“I’m so stoked,” Ayanbadejo, one of the NFL’s most outspoken gay rights activists, told The Associated Press. “It’s like I woke up and it was Christmas.”
But when he was asked about Culliver’s anti-gay slurs this week, Ayanbadejo was all class:
“I hear it all the time,” Ayanbadejo said on Thursday. “I hear it every day. And it’s not just in the locker rooms. It’s on my Twitter. It’s on my Facebook. . . . I’m not surprised, but that’s why I speak so loudly about this.”
Ayanbadejo rejected [Culliver’s] mind-set, but maintained that “Culliver is going to turn this into a positive thing.”
“I think in San Francisco, and being from the Bay Area myself, we really try to preach love and acceptance of everybody,” Ayanbadejo said. “I couldn’t really say anything negative to the young man. It’s just one of those things you have to live and you have to learn. In the words of Martin Luther King, ‘You can’t fight hate with hate. You have to fight hate with love.’
“We’ve all made our mistakes,” he added. “We’ve done certain things and we’ve hurt people if we meant to do it or not. But more than anything, it’s an opportunity to have a learning experience.”
I think it takes a fair amount of courage to speak out for marriage equality and gay civil rights in a hostile environment like the NFL. Especially to do it in a reasoned, level-headed fashion. So, nicely done Brendan Ayanbadejo.
Conversely, it takes a lot less courage for a politician to be on the right side of history. Politicians live easy lives; they’re coddled by supporters, lobbyists, wealthy donors, and, very often, by the media, too. Yet, politicians, especially members of Congress, are notoriously weak-kneed when it comes to advancing the cause of civil rights. As easy as a politician’s life may be, they are congenitally afraid of rocking boats.
Enter Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), once the darling of the beltway press, to demonstrate the courage of your Republican congressional majority. As you may know, the Illinois General Assembly is expected to consider a marriage equality bill in the near future; so it’s not surprising that reporters would ask Rep. Schock, a leading political figure here, what he thinks about it. Shockingly – see what I did there? – he flinched. From Chicagoist:
At a media event this week, reporters asked U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) why he doesn’t support marriage equality.
“Uh, well, I, I just haven’t,” he said.
He further explained his position by saying, “I think everybody has a set of beliefs on issues, social issues in particular, that are a reflection of how they were raised and their set of beliefs.”
This is the guy the so-called liberal media fawned over after his first election to Congress in 2008. In a desperate attempt to appear “balanced” on the occasion of Pres. Obama’s historic election, Schock was the freshman Republican the media crushed on, and crushed hard.
But when he was asked why he hasn’t answered the call of history, the darling of the beltway media answered: Uh, well, I, I just haven’t.
Even though the Bears aren’t in it, maybe Rep. Schock should watch that football game tomorrow. Brendan Ayanbadejo he might teach him something about growing a backbone.

UPDATE: Over at Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, blogger BlackTsunami has the tape of Rep. Schock’s comments. It’s worse that you thought:

That’s a clown comment, bro.

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