It’s a long standing tradition for the Super Bowl winning team to visit the White House and meet with the president, and the world champion Baltimore Ravens continued this tradition on Thursday minus one player who made a conscience decision not to attend.
Now-retired Ravens center Matt Birk chose to skip the team’s visit to the White House because of President Obama’s support for Planned Parenthood.
“I wasn’t there,” Birk explained in an interview on 100.3FM KFAN. “I would say this, I would say that I have great respect for the office of the Presidency but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.'”
Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to deliver a speech at a national Planned Parenthood conference in April.
Birk added: “Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the Pro-Life movement and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”
“I’m very confused by [Obama’s] statement,” he continued. ”For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.”
Planned Parenthood, which received $542 million in federal funding in 2012, is the largest single provider of abortions in the U.S.
While many Americans will applaud Birk for having the courage to stand on his beliefs, it’s not likely the media will respond as favorably as it did in April when Washington Wizards center Jason Collins came out as America’s first openly gay athlete.
Collins was celebrated in the national media and even got a call from Obama, who wanted to “express his support” and tell him “he was impressed by his courage.”
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