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Brian Burke: An Influence for more than just Hockey

February 13, 2012

Brian Burke is unapologetic about the causes and people he endorses. He’s forthright, gruff and supports the role of the enforcer in hockey.  At first blush, the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs appears to be a consummate member of the  ‘old boys club’ that permeates hockey society.

One only has to watch the following video to know that there is much more to this man than simply hockey. He realizes that he holds the spotlight in one of the largest sports markets in Canada, if not North America.  Burke also recognizes that alongside his responsibilities as GM for the Leafs, he and the team have a responsibility to the community that supports them.

Following the tragic death of his son Brendan, just months after he came out publicly to the sporting community,  Burke took up the cause his son began; to foster acceptance for homosexuals in sport.  He has spoken at various LGBT events and has participated in the Toronto Pride Parade for the past two years.  He has also stated that a homosexual athlete would be welcome in his locker room.

Ignorance is not bliss. Not when it brings so much harm to people all across the globe. Not when those who seek both the camaraderie and the competition of sport are frightened to do so, simply because of who they are. A personage of Brian Burke’s stature that supports LGBT rights is just what the professional sporting world needs, to bring awareness to a specific part of society where machoism continues to be ranked far ahead of ability. May more upper echelon sporting authorities take their cue from Brian Burke.

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