A Hockey Coming Out Story...
“I hope the day comes, and soon, when this is not a story.” — Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke
That’s the opening sentence to a story I read on ESPN.com yesterday that I didn’t get a chance to write about until now. Written by columnist John Buccigross, the story titled “‘We love you, this won’t change a thing'” details how Brendan Burke got up the courage to come out to his dad, who happens to be one of the toughest guys in hockey and the current GM of the Maple Leafs. He also came out to Miami University hockey coach Enrico Blasi and the Miami hockey team…the team he worked for as a student manager.
Brendan’s family and his hockey family embraced him and said it was okay (some even wondered why there had to be an issue about it). His coming out changed the players at Miami too: “I think having Brendan as part of our program has been a blessing,” said coach Blasi. “We are much more aware of what you say and how we say it. I am guilty as anyone. We need to be reminded that respect is not a label, but something you earn by the way you live your life.” If only more people in the world thought before they spoke.
I encourage you to give the article a read. I think you’ll be moved and inspired.
Update: Some interviews and reaction from TSN in Canada.