Burke was named Youth Role Model of the Year for his efforts in addressing homophobia in sports. Jer’s Vision is Canada’s youth diversity initiative, which works to address bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination of all kinds in schools and youth communities. Of course, the reason Burke has been speaking out is in memory of his late son Brendan, who was killed in a car crash in Indiana in February 2010, just three months after admitting publicly he was gay. “I told (Brendan) he had to keep his head on a swivel for the first couple of months, that he had better be careful. “How sick is that?” Brendan’s coming out was widely praised and supported by the media and fans, generating multiple discussions about homophobia in sports, and in hockey in particular. “When Brendan told his team he was gay, they said to a man ‘we love you, we support you,’ ” said Burke. “My son touched a lot of people.” (Brian Burke scores in Ottawa).
Brian P. Burke (born June 30, 1955) is an American ice hockey executive, who is currently the President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and was the General Manager for the United States national men’s ice hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. A dual citizen of the United States and Canada, Burke is married to Jennifer Mather Burke, an anchor at CTV News Channel. They have two daughters together. Burke also has four children from a previous marriage, including Patrick, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers. Burke is a strong supporter of gay rights and attended the 2009 Toronto Gay Pride Parade with his son Brendan Burke, who was gay. On February 5, 2010, Brendan died, aged 21, from injuries suffered in a car accident in Indiana (Wikipedia).
TSN talks to Brian Burke and his son Brendan Burke about coming out (Video)
Combating homophobia in sports
Bio: Brian Burke
Cox: A son’s secret, Brian Burke’s love
Brian Burke’s son Brendan dies after car accident in Indiana
Keeping his son’s voice alive, Brian Burke joins fight against homophobia
Brian Burke Tackles Homophobia in Sports and Schools