Saturday, February 6, 2010

Brendan Burke was a hero!

After hearing this tragic news last night, I thought I would come out of my self-imposed hiatus to briefly pay tribute to Brendan Burke, the son of hockey giant and Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, who died yesterday after a car accident in Indiana.

According to reports, Brendan Burke was killed as heavy snow was falling on the roads north of Economy, Ind., near the Ohio border. The 2004 Jeep Cherokee in which he was riding reportedly slid into oncoming traffic and crashed into a truck going the other way, killing Burke and a friend. The driver of the truck survived.

Brendan was tremendously brave last November when he told the world he was gay. The story seemed to re-start a conversation about rampant homophobia in the sports world. Although not a professional athlete himself, Brendan's admission did no doubt make a difference. He could've remained quiet like so many closeted athletes do. But instead he chose to speak out and promote the cause of equality and acceptance and, for that, he's a hero to me.

Particularly inspirational was his father Brian Burke's reaction to his son's decision to come out publicly: "I had a million good reasons to love and admire Brendan," Brian Burke said at the time. "This news didn't alter any of them."

My thoughts are with the Burke family at this tragic time.