I was recently sent a link to this story about the relationship between Toronto Maple Leafs GM/one of the more important figures in recent hockey history, Brian Burke, and his openly gay son, Brendan, a university student and hockey player in his own right. It’s an incredibly moving read, and details a pioneering effort to bring an awareness to the severe homophobia in both hockey and sports in general.
It also paints a refreshing picture of a few gay loving straight men, a figure we don’t see enough of (which perpetuates a stereotype and fear within many gays that most straight men are homophobic, which is horribly untrue). I hate commending people for simply being decent human beings, or worse calling them “brave” for it, but Brian Burke has some serious influence in one of the most powerful straight male institutions around (at least in Canada), and him providing a role model for dads handling their sons coming out to them is something you’ve got to admire. More over, though, serious props to Brendan Burke for deciding to be a public advocate for gays amidst one of the most homophobic institutions around – and on top of it, one that he exists in.
So read the story and enjoy a supplementary video from TSN (aka Canada’s version of ESPN) a few days back. Just think about how many people got an unexpected taste of gay advocacy in the midst of their evening hockey news: