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 leveled 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 leveled. Bias, suspicion and prejudice still prevail. Our goal has to be to continue to level these barriers.

…My favorite thing about my son telling me he was gay [was] I didn’t have to take anything back. My children were raised in a home which taught acceptance. This is the first step: practice and teach acceptance… If everyone practices acceptance, this issue will go away over time.

Toronto Maple Leaf General Manager Brian Burke, discussing his son Brendan, upon receiving the PFLAG Ally  Award on Monday. Brendan was an assistant on the Miami of Ohio hockey team and died in a car crash on February 5, 2010. Read the full text of Brian’s speech here.

Source: OutSports. Photos: PFLAG

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