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Adding insult to injury

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Photo - BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL,  Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Baltimore,Maryland. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Baltimore,Maryland. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

What was worse than Maryland state Del. Emmett Burns' attempt to have Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti slap a muzzle on one of his players? The reaction of a Minnesota Vikings player to Burns' attempt, that's what. But don't expect to read such in the liberal media.

Burns is a Democrat who represents part of Baltimore County, so all you other Democrats and liberals can't blame us mean old, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, women-hating Republicans for Burns' wanting to silence Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Ayanbadejo supports same-sex marriage; Burns does not. In fact, Burns is so diehard in his opposition to same-sex marriage that apparently he doesn't want Ayanbadejo publicly expressing his support of same-sex marriage.

Burns felt strongly enough about Ayanbadejo going public that he sent Bisciotti a letter. Burns expressed dismay at Ayanbadejo's support of same-sex marriage. Where Burns clearly crossed the line was in the final paragraph of his missive.

"I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions."

Appalling? Absolutely. And even more appalling is Minnesota Vikings' punter Chris Kluwe's riposte. It has been called "profanity-laced," but it goes far beyond that. After accusing Burns of "vitriolic hatred and bigotry," Kluwe launched into a vitriolic, hate-filled rant of his own.

According to Kluwe, Burns' views on gay marriage make the delegate a "narcissistic (bleep) stain" and an "(fill-in-name-of-a-bodily-orifice-here)." Kluwe attacked Burns' intelligence, making reference to the delegate's "rapidly addled mind" and advising him to "hire an intern to help you with the longer words."

This, dear reader, is what passes for "civility" in the world of liberals and Democrats. But you'll read not one word in any mainstream -- by which I mean "liberal" -- newspaper criticizing Kluwe for his over-the-top, ad hominem attack on Burns.

Nor will you read any criticism of Kluwe's bizarre interpretation of the First Amendment. Kluwe accused Burns of abrogating Ayanbadejo's First Amendment rights and began his blog with this sentence:

"As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgement of said freedom."

I don't know if Burns has or hasn't read the Constitution. (The man IS a Democrat, so I suspect he hasn't.) But I know Kluwe clearly hasn't read, or doesn't understand, the First Amendment. So, Mr. Kluwe, consider this your First Amendment refresher course:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Here's the first word of that amendment in all caps: CONGRESS. It's Congress that can't pass a law prohibiting freedom of speech. Even under the incorporation doctrine, which attaches the same constitutional restrictions on states' power, then Burns still isn't guilty.

He didn't ask Maryland's General Assembly to silence Ayanbadejo; he asked Bisciotti, the owner of a private business, to silence the linebacker. First Amendment restrictions don't apply to Bisciotti, nor to the National Football League. If either Kluwe or Ayanbadejo doubt that, they need only criticize the officiating in a game and see how fast NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell slaps a hefty fine on them.

Kluwe might think he's gung-ho about First Amendment rights, but let's see how fast he defends the free speech of an NFL player who says, "I support traditional marriage." Any player who does that is more likely to get another hate-filled rant from Kluwe.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane

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The Washington Examiner