Brendon Ayanbadejo, Baltimore Ravens Linebacker, Talks Gay Rights With Russell Simmons

02/04/2013 03:07 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Fresh off the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII victory, Brendon Ayanbadejo spoke out in defense of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in a new interview with none other than Russell Simmons.

"Being the first pioneer publicly accepting same-sex marriage in the three major sports was difficult at first but the more people scrutinized me and ridiculed me, the stronger I became for the issue," Ayanbadejo told Simmons, who has also been praised by a number of advocacy groups for his own defense of LGBT rights. "It was like lifting weights; the resistance made me stronger, stand taller and speak louder for LGBT rights!"

Despite the recent furor regarding anti-gay comments made by San Francisco 49ers' players in the weeks leading up to the NFL championship game, Ayanbadejo added, "The NFL culture has come a long way from four years ago. The younger generation of players are a lot more open-minded, forward thinking and accepting of the LGBT community."

Having previously vowed to use the Super Bowl as a platform for same-sex marriage and anti-bullying measures, Ayanbadejo also noted, "This isn't a fight for gay rights, this is a fight for human rights."

A new #Time4Marriage video featuring Ayanbadejo also appeared on YouTube today (see above). In the clip, produced by the Respect For Marriage Coalition, the football star urges, "Join me and the majority of Americans who support marriage equality -- it's the right thing to do."

Check out Simmons' full interview with Ayanbadejo here.

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