Over 30 Current and Former Pro Athletes and Coaches Endorse Supreme Court Brief

Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack supports same-sex marriage - David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Marriage brief, spear-headed by Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, draws more support in the sports world

The Athletes Brief, an amicus brief being presented to the Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage equality, has added several dozen names to its supporters. Launched by NFL players Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, the brief is now endorsed by the likes of:

Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita
NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth
Chicago Bears punter Adam Podlesh
Minnesota Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson
Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack
Former NFL linebacker Kawika Mitchell
Chicago Sky coach Pokey Chatman
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin
Former NHL player Sean Avery
Washington Mystics center Kia Vaughn
Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried
Cleveland Browns linebacker Chris Gocong

Various openly gay people in sports have also endorsed the brief, including Golden State Warriors president Rick Welts, former NFL players Wade Davis, Esera Tuaolo and Dave Kopay, former pro soccer player Robbie Rogers, and WNBA player Seimone Augustus. Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor, whose group works with several of these athletes, also signed on.

From the Athletes Brief press release:

"Brendon and I have emphasized all along that athletes have a special message when it comes to welcoming others as friends and teammates, without regard for their sexual orientation-we've made that point before in some unique ways, and we felt we had a special perspective to offer the Court in a very serious case about equality," said Kluwe.

Ayanbadejo added, "We knew from our prior work and membership in organizations like Athlete Ally that support for basic human rights is widespread in the sports community, so we asked our friends like Scott Fujita if they would support that message in our brief."

Fujita, a linebacker who was part of the New Orleans Saints team that won Super Bowl XLIV, reached out to his former teammates and found an equally positive reaction. Fujita noted, "Football is a macho sport, but we've found many players to be accepting. We hope to create an environment where a player who is gay will be treated like any other teammate."

The brief is represented pro bono in the Supreme Court by appellate specialist John Dragseth of Fish & Richardson P.C., and Timothy Holbrook, Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law.

Here is the complete list of signers:

Chris Kluwe
NFL punter, Minnesota Vikings

Brendon Ayanbadejo
NFL linebacker, 2012 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens
Three-Time Pro Bowler

Scott Fujita
NFL linebacker, including with 2009 Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints

Marie Tillman
President and Co-Founder, Pat Tillman Foundation, a national leader in providing resources and educational scholarship support to veterans

Russell Simmons
Businessman and founder of Def Jam Records and Phat Farm clothing

Rick Welts
President & Chief of Operations, Golden State Warriors

Cheryl Reeve
WNBA Head Coach, Minnesota Lynx
WNBA Champion & Coach of the Year 2011
All-conference point guard, LaSalle

Pokey Chatman
WNBA Head Coach, Chicago Sky

Dominique Foxworth
President, NFL Players Association
Former NFL cornerback

Demaurice Smith
Executive Director, NFL Players Association

Patrick Nero
Athletic Director, George Washington U.

Kenneth Faried
NBA player, Denver Nuggets
All-American at Morehead State University

Robbie Rogers
Soccer Player, formerly with U. of Maryland, U.S. men's national soccer team, and professionally with Columbus Crew (2008 MLS Cup winner) and Leeds United

Rashad Evans
Michigan State wrestler
Former UFC light heavyweight champion

Hudson Taylor
Division I Three-Time All-American wrestler
Columbia University coach

Hunter Hillenmeyer
Former NFL linebacker with Chicago Bears
Founder, OverDog, a service to connect fans to athletes via videogames

Esera Tuaolo
Former NFL defensive tackle and nose tackle
Board member of the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation
Author of "Alone In The Trenches: My Life As A Gay Man In The NFL"

Wade Davis, Jr.
Former NFL Player
Frequent author and speaker on the issue of LGBT individuals in athletics

David Kopay
Former running back with the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers

Adam Podlesh
NFL punter, Chicago Bears

Eric Barton
Former NFL linebacker with Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, and Cleveland Browns

Chris Gocong
NFL linebacker, Cleveland Browns

Alex Mack
NFL Center, Cleveland Browns
Winner of Draddy Trophy, the "academic Heisman"

Steve Gleason
Former NFL Safety, New Orleans Saints
Founder, Team Gleason, raising awareness of ALS

Connor Barwin
NFL linebacker, Philadelphia Eagles, formerly with Houston Texans

Kawika Mitchell
Former NFL linebacker, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, and New Orleans Saints
2007 Super Bowl Champion with Giants

D'Qwell Jackson
NFL Linebacker, Cleveland Browns
Elected team captain

Eric Winston
NFL Offensive Lineman, most recently with Kansas City Chiefs

Scott Shanle
NFL Linebacker, most recently with New Orleans Saints
2009 Super Bowl Champion with Saints

Sean Avery
Former NHL Left Wing with Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars and New York Rangers

Joe Briggs
Former Texas Christian U. football player
Public Policy Counsel with NFL Players Ass'n
Professor, Georgetown University

Michelle Marciniak
Former point guard and National Champion (and MVP) with Tennessee Vols, and Seattle Storm of the WNBA
Former Asst. Coach - Univ. of S. Carolina
Co-Founder -- Sheex luxury performance bed sheets

Susan Walvius
Former head women's basketball coach at Virginia Commonwealth U., WVU, and U. of South Carolina
Co-Founder -- Sheex luxury performance bed sheets

Beth Brooke
Global Vice-Chair, Public Policy, Ernst & Young
Former women's basketball player, Purdue U.

James Cantelupe
Director, Barclays (Chicago)
Former NFL defensive back with Chicago ears and All-American defensive back with Army (West Point)

April Ross
Professional beach volleyball player
National Freshman of the Year and All-American at USC
2012 Olympic Silver Medalist, Beach Volleyball

Jennifer Kessy
Professional beach volleyball player
All-American at USC
2012 Olympic Silver Medalist, Beach Volleyball

Seimone Augustus
WNBA guard/forward, Minnesota Lynx
Two-time Olympic gold medalist
Three-time All-America with LSU
2011 WNBA Champion (Finals MVP) and three-time All-Star

Rebekkah Brunson
WNBA Forward, Minnesota Lynx
2011 WNBA All-Star
Founder, 32 Foundation, sponsoring academic and athletic opportunities for youth in the DC area

Kia Vaughn
WNBA center, Washington Mystics

Katura Horton-Perinchief
First female Bermudian to compete in Olympic diving

Jayne Appel
WNBA All-Star center, San Antonio Silver Stars

Tabi Bonney (Tabiabué Bonney)
Togo-born, Washington D.C.-based rapper
Former high school science teacher

Sage Rosenfels
NFL quarterback, formerly with Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, and Washington Redskins

Tom Crabtree
NFL Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, previously with Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs
2010 Super Bowl Champion with Packers

Pat McAfee
NFL Punter, Indianapolis Colts
Founder, Pat McAfee Foundation, providing assistance to children of military personnel

Hat tip to Hudson Taylor.

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