By Michael Gold
The Baltimore Sun
12:12 PM EDT, June 6, 2013
Former Ravens linebacker and outspoken same-sex marriage advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo is turning his attention from playing time to publishing.
Weeks after being released by the Super Bowl champions, Ayanbadejo announced today that he will serve as the guest editor of a sports-themed issue of LGBT newspaper The Washington Blade.
"I'm extremely honored to be able to work with the Blade," Ayanbadejo said at a press conference. "I think through sports is the easiest way to reach a lot of people in a demographic that typically wouldn't hear about equality and why it is so near and dear to us."
Since his playing days ended -- for now, at least -- Ayanbadejo has continued advocating for the LGBT community, has made several media appearances and took part in the NFL's inaugural sports journalism boot camp.
Now, he said, he is hoping to bring the cause of equality onto the field.
"Hopefully, I'll be partnering up with the NFL later this month and doing some things with the NFL," Ayanbadejo said. "I've already partnered with the [NFL Players' Association], and we'll be doing some things later this June."
LGBT issues in sports have received growing attention in recent months, with leagues launching programs to combat anti-LGBT attitudes and create a safe space for LGBT athletes. Independent campaigns like You Can Play, often working in tandem with athletics organizations, target homophobia in the locker room and look to make sports culture more inclusive.
Those intiatives appear to have come to fruition in recent weeks, culminating in late May when Robbie Rogers becoming the first openly gay man to play in American professional sports. And Rogers' groundbreaking game came on the heels of NBA center Jason Collins becoming the first active gay male athlete in a major American team sport to come out, as well as women's basketball star Brittney Griner's discussion of homophobia in college athletics.
Through its partnership with Ayanbadejo, The Washington Blade hopes to further the discussion of these issues. While the content of the newspaper's sports-themed issue, to be released on Aug. 30, hasn't been decided, Blade editor Kevin Naff is hoping to further the culture of openness that Rogers, Griner and Collins have helped create.
"It is my hope that we will get a professional athlete or two to make an announcement," Naff said. "We'll see."
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