Just a reminder that Brian Burke is awesome.
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was honoured by PLFAG Canada (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) with the “Ally Award” on Monday. Here is part of his speech via MapleLeafs.com (Photo: Mark Blinch/Reuters):
I believe that the PFLAG “Ally Award” has great significance, and I was flattered to accept it on Monday night on behalf of the Burke family. But I hope the day comes, and soon, when this award is retired as obsolete.
A parent’s unconditional love and acceptance of their child is unremarkable, and should be automatic. It deserves no accolades or praise. Make no mistake, the hero here was Brendan. What Brendan did took courage. Coming out in arguably the most macho of the professional sports. Now that was worthy of an award.
Most walls in society have been breached or levelled over time. But not this one – professional sports in North America has no gay presence. And certainly the NHL does not. These walls have not been breached, have not been levelled. Bias, suspicion and prejudice still prevail. Our goal has to be to continue to level these barriers.
Great progress has been made. But much hard work still lies ahead. Gradual change has been interspersed with radical statements and positions. Brendan’s lot as a gay man in general was far better than it would have been in 1980. But the process must continue. Today, we are talking about battling ignorance, fear and bias. And I am going to ask everybody to agree to take three steps going forward – and to eliminate homophobia.
Why am I receiving this award? Because my son was gay. And I lost him in a car accident on February 5, 2010. Brendan came out in a very public way shortly before we lost him. He changed lives, and he has inspired me to do the same.