A tribute to a true hero. Brendan Burke (1988-2010)
TSN has just broken a story that Brendan Burke,the youngest son of Leafs GM Brian Burke has died as a result of a car accident in Indiana. This news has hit me very hard. Brendan was only 21, and this November, he mustered up the immense courage to come out as a young gay man, saying that he quit hockey because of the difficulty of keeping his homosexuality a secret and that he had hoped to be the first openly gay NHL executive in history. I never really was fond of Brian Burke's brash style of business, even though I knew he got the job done better than almost any one else in the league. I truly believed that Brian would not speak publicly about his son's life and maybe fuel the fire that suggests his mantras of "toughness, tenacity and truculence" made him homophobic. When Brian came out and said that no matter who Brendan was, he would always love him and support him, he immediately jumped in my books from an annoying "act" of a manager to a truly genuine "class act" who tells it like it is. Brendan stood out as one of the bravest young people in this world today who through his dreams and ambitions not only changed life for the gay community in sports but possibly all minorities. I am not a hopeful Hockey player, nor am I a Homosexual and I am definitely not a Leafs fan, but I am a Jew, and there was something uplifting about a person belonging to a minority demographic standing up and saying "What I am is not important". "Who I am and what I am able to do is important". Brendan's loss is a tragic one for the Gay community, the hockey world and young people everywhere. My thoughts and prayers are with the Burke family, and let us try to open our minds for the future, so that Brendan Burke's story can live on as a testament to the human spirit and a rallying cry for us to treat ever single person on this earth equally.