Beyond Brendan Burke

A Brother Talks About a Brother’s Legacy

Brendan and Patrick Burke

Chris Stevenson of the Toronto Sun sports section is up today with a column on what may be Brendan Burke’s enduring legacy – having paved the way for an NHL player to come out.

Brendan’s surviving brother Patrick talks about what could happen one day and what it would mean.  The league is full of big boys.  They can handle a gay player, right?  Aren’t hockey players the toughest sons of bitches God ever created? 

From the piece:

“Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers and a law student, marvelled at his brother Brendan’s decision to come out.

“How many 20-year-olds are the first to do anything?” Patrick said. (Brian Burke deferred to Patrick for an interview on the anniversary of Brendan’s death.)

“To be that comfortable with themselves and confident and courageous to try to lead the charge for, in a lot of ways, a controversial issue … I mean, how many 20-year-olds are willing to do anything like that? How many 30- or 40-year-olds are willing to do anything like that?

“Him being the first, we had no sense of what the risks might be, what the ups and downs might be. It was just kind of one of those things where this could help people, so he was going to do it.”

So, a year after Brendan Burke’s death, are we any closer to seeing the first openly gay player in the NHL?

His goal was to at least start the discussion, to show other gay people in hockey they were not alone, to make straight people understand their game was shared. He achieved his goal.”

There are goals, and then there are goals.  The full column can be found here.

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2 Responses to Beyond Brendan Burke

  1. david says:

    brendan burke was a hockey hero of mine.. before he died and now certainly after.. i was out to my hockey team(s), well two of them, when i was playing rec league or beer league hockey (no gay teams or leagues here).. at first they didnt believe me when i told them… but after a bit of an attitude adjustment, the guys (masculine straight dudes) had my back…. i was the only out lgbt person that i ever met playing or coaching although im sure there were many closeted others.

    that the burke family, and patrick burke in particular, are moving forward with brendans legacy is amazing.. that there are at least 2 closeted players in the nhl is a good start… i hope i live to see the day when one of them decides to cowboy up n come out publicly on his own and not just wait until hes retired or outed to say those three magic words that are so often the hardest to say out loud…

    ~ cheers… david

    “There are a lot of gay athletes out there and gay people working in pro sports that deserve to know that there are safe environments where people are supportive of you regardless of your sexual orientation.” ~ Brendan Burke

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