Technically we're still a week and a half away from finding out who will be the Super Bowl MVP, but I've got a name to throw in the ring. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo. He is the one guy who has decided he's going to use all the attention he's getting these days for something worthwhile. No, not grabbing a major endorsement deal. This one's infinitely more noble.
Ayanbadejo has figured out how to leverage his team's big moment to help forward the fight for marriage equality! The 36-year-old is already one of the NFL's two most vocal proponents of LGBT rights (one of the leading images on Google shows him bare-chested with NOH8 painted on his pectoral), and when his team took the AFC title from the New England Patriots on Sunday night, he saw his chance to do something big.
Ayanbadejo literally wasted no time in putting this whole thing in motion. According to The New York Times' Frank Bruni, the linebacker -- who happens to be straight -- sent an email to marriage-equality advocate Brian Ellner, and Michael Skolnik, the political director for Russell Simmons, that read:
Is there anything I can do for marriage equality or anti- bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media?
It's heartwarming enough that a guy who just won a major championship was thinking not about himself but about civil rights for people who desperately need them. But then consider this: Bruni found out that the email was sent before 4 a.m. on Monday.
Remember -- the Ravens won their big game on Sunday night. Based on the math, Ayanbadejo could have been out partying with his team and living it up. He just won one of the biggest games of his entire career. He was (is!) going to the Super Bowl!
And his mind moved that quickly to caring about people in need? Folks, I have a new football hero!
We were already going to root for the Ravens in my household (sorry Niners fans), and that means I'm supposed to hope Ray Lewis repeats as Super Bowl MVP. But I'm going rogue. Brendon Ayanbadejo is my guy.
How about you?
Image via Jim Rogash/Getty Images