has been outspoken in his support for equal rights. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS -- Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who has long been a very public supporter of same-sex marriages, said Thursday that he's "not surprised" by Chris Culliver's comments regarding gay athletes in the NFL.
Culliver spent Wednesday and Thursday apologizing for statements he made during Media Day -- Culliver told radio host Artie Lange that any gay NFLers "get up outta here" and "can’t be in the locker room."
Ayanbadejo has spoken out in favor of the gay community on several occasions, including last year when the state of Maryland voted to allow same-sex marriages. But as an NFL player, Ayanbadejo did not seem all that taken aback by Culliver's comments.
"I hear it all the time, not just in the locker room," Ayanbadejo told a herd of media members.
The 36-year-old NFL veteran also estimated that 50 percent of the league's players "think like Culliver ... 25 percent think like me" and the remaining 25 percent are "accepting" of the possibility of gay players in the NFL.
Ayanbadejo famously penned a guest column for the Huffington Post in 2009 entitled "Same Sex Marriages: What's the Big Deal?" He was asked about his equal-rights push during Tuesday's Media Day -- before Culliver's comments became public knowledge -- but attempted to steer the conversation back to Sunday's game.
"Actually, I talked about that so I don’t want to keep touching on that subject, but obviously we’re here at the Super Bowl and it’s the pinnacle of sports here in the United States so I just really want to focus," Ayanbadejo said. "A lot of media stuff has come up with Ayanbadejo this and Ayanbadejo that but I think the most important thing is that I’m here with my team. My focus is on this football game and this is the most important game I’ve ever played in my life.”
Culliver's comments, however, put the topic -- and Ayanbadejo -- back in the spotlight. This time around, Ayanbadejo relented and tackled the discussion.
He spent the majority of Baltimore's 45-minute Thursday media session reacting to Culliver's comments. Ayanbadejo said that he believes Culliver can grow from this incident -- and hopes that San Francisco's young defensive back does.
"The NFL's not the real world, the Super Bowl's not the real world," Ayanbadejo said. "There are two teams, the whole world's looking and one of us will be champions at the end of the day.
"But everything you do here will affect you for the rest of your life."