Former NFL linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo hasn't been shy about discussing hot-button topics both within and outside the realm of football, and he has continued his controversial ways by levying some allegations against former teammates.
According to a podcast interview with Scott Fujita and Gabe Kapler of Fox Sports (h/t ESPN.com), Ayanbadejo revealed that some of his teammates smoked marijuana just days before one of his Super Bowl appearances.
Ayanbadejo played 10 NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens. He competed in Super Bowl XLI in 2007 and Super Bowl XLVII last year, but he declined to say before which Super Bowl the alleged incident occurred:
I'm not going to say which Super Bowl it was, but I just remember getting off the elevator one night—it was early on in the (Super Bowl) week, just to start the week off—and all of the sudden I just got hit over the head with fumes of marijuana on the entire floor of the hotel that the team was staying on. ... I could just imagine there were a few young guys just toking it up in more than one room.
Ayanbadejo recalled being surprised that his teammates would smoke with the biggest game of their respective careers on the horizon:
I was like, 'Man, this is the week of the Super Bowl and you're just going in?' So then I was looking around, and I'm like 'OK, where is the security?' I looked and for some reason we didn't have regular police. Coach was smart enough to have rent-a-cops on our floor instead of regular police like we usually do.
Ayanbadejo and the Bears lost Super Bowl XLI to the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts, but he captured the first title of his career when the Ravens took down the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
Mark Viviano of WJZ-TV in Baltimore wasn't surprised when he heard about Ayanbadejo's story:
Ayanbadejo's mention of marijuana usage among NFL players comes at an interesting time since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is weighing the positives and negatives of potentially allowing players to use medicinal marijuana as a concussion treatment, according to Chris Strauss of USA Today:
I'm not a medical expert. We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that. Our medical experts are not saying that right now.
Prior to coming forward with this story, Ayanbadejo made headlines as a supporter of gay rights and same-sex marriage. According to ESPN.com, he claimed back in April that there were four NFL players considering coming out together:
I think it will happen sooner than you think. We're in talks with a handful of players who are considering it. There are up to four players being talked to right now, and they're trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together. It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy. It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out.
There was also talk that the Ravens released Ayanbadejo due to his gay-rights advocacy, but he ultimately shot down those rumors on Twitter:
Although Ayanbadejo was a fairly anonymous player during his NFL career, he has made plenty of waves over the past several months.
It doesn't get any bigger than the Super Bowl for an NFL player, and it's difficult to argue with Ayanbadejo's suggestion that the focus should be solely on that game and nothing else in the week leading up to it.
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