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Friday, 5 February 2010

I Hate Writing These

I've always admired the way that Brendan Burke went about telling the world that he was quite the same despite being socially different. Brendan Burke, the son of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, was a caring individual who showed an incredible amount of courage in announcing that he was gay. I had a small mention of the interview that John Buccigross of ESPN.com did with Brendan Burke on December 1, 2009, and I stand by my last words: "Being gay doesn't change who he is or how much respect I have for him. Nor should it change you."

The reason I bring up Brendan Burke today is for a more tragic reason. According to reports, Brendan Burke was driving in his black 2004 Jeep Grand Caravan that was traveling through Indiana through heavy snow. The treacherous conditions of US Interstate 35 combined with the heavy snow caused Burke to cross the dividing line into oncoming traffic where his Jeep crashed head-on with a truck heading in the opposite direction.

Brendan Burke, 21, and his passenger Mark Reedy, 18, both died as a result of their injuries. The other driver, Michael Moreland, was not seriously injured in the crash.

Whether you like Brian Burke or not, this sort of tragedy is something that no one ever wishes on another individual. The Maple Leafs have asked for privacy for the Burke family, and I certainly believe that they deserve it.

There is nothing I can say except that I'm sorry for their loss, and that the Burke family will need time to overcome this. Losing a son in the prime of his life is something I've never experienced, but the hole left behind will never be completely filled.

Take care, Burke family, and take your time in sending off Brendan. His life was only beginning, but he was already an inspiration to thousands of men and women across the world for his courage in bringing homosexuality to light in the sports world.

Rest in peace, Brendan. You will always have my respect for speaking out and helping other gay men and women in their efforts to be accepted in the locker room. You were a great man, a better son, and a superb human being. I can only hope to be as brave as you one day.

Raise you sticks high, readers, in honour of Brendan Burke, a man who deserves respect for being true to himself. And please keep the Burke family in your thoughts and prayers tonight. They can use your support in their time of sorrow.

1 comment:

Eric Gembarowski said...

I'm raising my stick high for Brendan because he does deserve it.

Your words about Brendan in your interview with John Buccigross are spot on. Being gay doesn't change who a person is.

Even though I don't know Brendan, I have tremendous respect for him. He sounds like an all around good guy, and that was before he came out. I respect him so much for that type of courage. It's something I will never understand, but I can try to imagine what it's like.

Brendan's story needs to be spread around the sports world and around the country. Courage like his doesn't come around too often. It's terribly sad he is no longer with us.