TAG | Baltimore Ravens
The Maryland legislature is currently debating a marriage equality bill, and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is vocalizing his support of the bill alongside the organization Equality Maryland.
On this issue, Ayanbadejo has been well-known for writing a significant column for the Huffington Post in 2009, “Same Sex Marriages: What’s the Big Deal?”
Now, with marriage equality being considered in the state where he plays, his words speak volumes. In the video below, he delivers these powerful words (the full transcript is below the video):
“Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons as we all do: love and commitment. It’s time to allow them the opportunity to build a family through marriage. It’s a matter of fairness.”
Full transcript, provided by the Baltimore Sun:
“Hello. My name is Brendon Ayanbadejo. I’m a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. And I’m proud to be a part of something that brings Marylanders together. Another issue that should unite Marylanders that I’m quite proud about is love and marriage. And right now, an important issue in our state is whether or not to allow gay and lesbian couples who love each other to marry.
“Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons as we all do: love and commitment. It’s time to allow them the opportunity to build a family through marriage. It’s a matter of fairness. This is why I’m asking Marylanders to join me in supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples.
“Having the freedom to marry means committed couples and their children will have the same crucial protections under the law as other families. Churches can always have their beliefs, but government is supposed to treat everybody the same, and that’s equal. America is supposed to be the land of the free but in order for this to be true for all of us, then we must have the ability to marry whom we love regardless of their gender.
“Think about it, and join me in the land of the brave for standing on the side of love. Thank you.”
The equal marriage bill passed the state senate on February 24, by a close vote, 25-21. The bill is now being read before the House of Delegates during this week to prepare for a vote. Metro Weekly sums up the purpose of the bill: “If signed into law, the legislation would grant same-sex couples in the state legal marriage recognition, while also protecting the rights of religious institutions to handle issues of marriage however they see fit.”
That last tidbit is important, because opponents often argue – falsely, I should add – that their religious freedoms are at risk.
My Picks yesterday were spot on: 2 for 2 in the game predictions and the matchups I isolated were all important. I wasn’t correct in how each matchup would play out, but each played a major role in the way the games were decided. Not to toot my own horn, rather, I want to encourage you to read my picks for today knowing I may be onto something (or am lucky).
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots – 1:00pm EST (CBS)
This game became more intriguing after Wes Welker, the Patriots and league leading wide receiver with 123 catches (and he didn’t even suit up for 2 games!), got injured in week 17. The success of the Patriots this past decade has been defined by the ability to carry through these scenarios: plug in the next guy and find a way to win. Rookie Julian Edelman, it’s your turn. To make it easier on Edelman, the secondary of the Ravens is also hampered by injury as their premiere safety, Ed Reed, will play but will also be limited. Reed and Ray Lewis have been the backbone, heart, soul, and any other body part you can think of for the Ravens defense for years.
- Patriots passing attack vs. Ravens pass defense. The Patriots are a passing team and will remain a passing team even with Welker out. I expect the Ravens to try to take Randy Moss out of the game with double teams, help over the top, etc. For the Patriots to win, it will then rest on Edelman and TE Benjamin Watson working the middle of the field during methodical 8-12 play drives.
- Ravens Rice and McGahee vs. Patriots front 7. The Ravens philosophy on offense is opposite of the Patriots: they want to run, run, run the ball. Ray Rice and Willis McGahee form that dynamic tandem that every team in the league seeks. Rice is young, quick, and has great hands out of the backfield; McGahee, although not as explosive as a few years ago, still gets solid yards and has a knack for finding the end zone. Further, they have a phenomenal full back, pro bowler Le’Ron McClain to lead the way.
It is always interesting when two teams with opposite philosophies meet in such an important game. The Patriots are 8-0 at home this year, and no matter what scenario they are in, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick come prepared in the playoffs. Pats win 27-13.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals – 4:40pm EST (FOX)
Reports are already coming out that Kurt Warner is likely to retire after this season, so you could very well be watching his last game. And with one of his most reliable targets, Anquan Boldin, likely sidelined by an ankle injury, the challenge of advancing this year is going to be tough. Even with Boldin down, the Cardinals still have an explosive passing attack. The Packers have an equally impressive offense, led by Aaron Rodgers who finished with a passer rating above 100 and became the first player in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards in his first two seasons as a starting QB.
- Packers CB Charles Woodson vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald went on a magical run through the payoffs last year; can he do it again? With Boldin out or severely limited, it will be much easier for the Packers defense to shift extra support to Woodson’s side. Woodson is a great cover corner—one of the best in the league—but the Packers, wanting to avoid a crazy Fitzgerald playoff day, will play it safe and try to take Fitz out of the game.
- The turnover battle. Although the Cardinals have found a bit of a running game this season with Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells, both have had a problem fumbling the ball. To further complicate matters for the Cards, the Packers also led the league in interceptions with 30. And for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers has done an excellent job with the ball: 30 TDs to 7 interceptions, fewest in the league for a QB that played the entire season.
The Cardinals are only 4-4 at home this season, so home-field advantage isn’t much help. The Packers are balanced on offense and defense and do all the important things better than the Cardinals. Packers win an exciting game, 33-27.