The Baltimore Ravens are a team divided ... at least when it comes to the topic of gay marriage ... but one of the players tells TMZ he's adamant the war behind the scenes will NOT affect the team on the field.
The gay marriage debate was kicked in to high gear this week when center Matt Birk published an article defending "traditional marriage" ... in response to the pro-gay marriage letter punter Chris Kluwe had written to an anti-gay marriage politician in Maryland.
Now, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo -- a longtime, outspoken defender of gay marriage -- tells TMZ ... the topic is SHELVED when the guys put on the pads.
“On the field, we’re on the same accord ... When we come to work, we’re on the same page. One goal and that’s to win a championship.”
Ayanbadejo tells us ... many of his teammates have discussed the issue with him ... but Birk wasn't one of those guys.
However, Ayanbadejo says Birk did give him a heads up about the anti-gay marriage letter before it was published.
“We had a conversation about other things, about him and our relationship, not about us being on different sides,” Ayanbadejo told TMZ.
Brendon says his family and Matt’s family spend time together socially, and their kids like to play together. That won’t change. But Brendon says he hopes to have a deeper discussion about the issue with Birk sometime in the future.
“Of course I disagree with his stance, but I’m not gonna tell someone how to raise their kids,” Ayanbadejo tells us. “He wants the world to be a better place for his kids."
“I think just from where we’re heading, his kids will grow up to have a different opinion from him, I’ll just leave it at that.”