A continuing series on celebrities who bring their causes to Washington. Thursday’s celebvocate: NFL linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo
Occasion: Announcing his upcoming role as guest editor of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest LGBT newspaper.
Setting: Conference room at Donovan House hotel.
Bona fides: Three-time Pro Bowl honoree, most recently with the Baltimore Ravens whom he helped win the 2013 Super Bowl; one of the first straight athletes in professional sports to advocate for same-sex marriage.
Backup: Washington Blade Editor Kevin Naff.
What he wants: To promote acceptance of gay athletes and educate against bullying. “Sports is the best way to reach a lot of people in a demographic that wouldn’t otherwise talk about equality.”
How he looked: Casual Friday, NFL-style — lightweight blazer over black V-neck, patterned slip-on shoes, bright blue pants (“my LGBT pants”).
What he’s got planned: Too soon to say — their work on the special Aug. 30 issue is just getting started. While Naff said he’d love to have some athlete coming-out announcements, a la Jason Collins, Ayanbadejo said he won’t be lobbying any friends to take the leap. “It’s up to them to come out on their own terms.”
Soundbite: Ayanbadejo decried the notion of “the government telling us who we could love,” explained that supports gay marriage out of solidarity — as the product of an interracial marriage that would have been banned in many states just a decade before his birth. “My dad’s the blackest black you’ll ever see, my mom’s the whitest white you’ll ever see, and I came out this beautiful caramel complexion.”