When the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens visited the White House on Wednesday, one of their key players did not attend.
Matt Birk, who has since retired, said he boycotted the trip because he did not agree with President Obama's support of Planned Parenthood.
The former Minnesota Vikings center told KFAN (100.3 FM) Radio on Thursday 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 he said, 'God bless Planned Parenthood.'
"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."
Obama concluded a speech to Planned Parenthood's convention in April by saying, "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America."
During the NFL season, Birk wrote an opinion piece for the Star Tribune in opposition to same-sex marriage, which has since been legalized in Minnesota.
Birk, 36, went to high school at Cretin Derham Hall before graduating from Harvard. He was drafted by the Vikings in 1998 and played 11 seasons for the Vikings before signing with Baltimore in 2009. The Ravens won the Super Bowl in January.
Birk, a six-time Pro Bowler, and his wife have six children.
|Baseball (1)||Basketball (1)|
|Football (1)||Vikings (48)|
|People (30)||WNBA (1)|
|Bears (4)||Ex-Vikings (2)|
|Lions (4)||NFC (4)|
|Packers (7)||Super Bowl (6)|
|Vikings defense (2)||Vikings fans (3)|
|Vikings special teams (1)||Off the field (4)|
|On the road (6)||Quarterbacks (2)|
|Vikings draft (3)||Ron Gardenhire (1)|
|Twins game coverage (2)||Twins offense (1)|
|Twins pitching (1)||Edina (1)|
|Vikings players (1)||Adrian Peterson (1)|
|Brad Childress (1)||Brett Favre (3)|
|Bryant McKinnie (3)||Chad Greenway (1)|
|Chris Kluwe (5)||Darrell Bevell (1)|
|Jared Allen (2)||John Sullivan (1)|
|Kevin Williams (1)||Leslie Frazier (2)|
|Percy Harvin (3)||Brad Childress (1)|
|Darrell Bevell (1)||Leslie Frazier (2)|
|NHL news (3)||MLB (2)|
|Twins Players (1)||Glen Perkins (1)|
|Joe Mauer (1)||Twins (5)|
|Lynx (1)||Gophers sports (1)|