in memoriam

When Brendan Burke Came Out To His Hockey Team, The Coach Was Glad It Was ‘Nothing Serious’

Ugh. If this CBS Sports segment on Brendan Burke, the gay hockey-loving son of Toronto Maple Leafs president Brian Burke, doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re not human. Burke, who came out to the world in November 2009, and died after a car accident two months later, is remembered by the Red Hawks hockey team at the University of Miami in Ohio, where he was student manager.

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  • chpinnlr

    My respect for the game of hockey and it participants is off the charts, great group of people. It is amazing how accepting men can be when they are secure in themselves, and apparently the sport helps to instill that in them!

  • Justin

    I posted this interview with Brendan and his father soon after it aired on TSN. I figured more youth would see it on youtube than on the TSN site.

    Brendan wrote me to thank me for posting it. He said that it allowed many in his family to check it out. Now I can’t watch anything with him in it without my eyes turning into water cannons.

  • Kieran

    This just demonstrates the impact that one authentic and courageous person can have on the lives of others. Thanks to the life of Brendan Burke, very few of the people he touched are likely to ever be homophobic.

  • justiceontherocks

    One person living honestly has a lot of power in this world.

    We need more folks like Brendan, and his father.

  • Kieran

    @Justin: Thanks for posting that interview. I had never heard Brendan speak before. What a terrible loss for all of us. My condolences to his family and teammates.

  • chpinnlr

    @Justin: Yes thank you for posting the interview.

  • Cam

    What a great/sad story. So sorry for his friends and family.

  • Craig

    Wow, another white queen we have to stop our lives over. We just love these stories, don’t we? Matthew Sheppard effect. What exactly did he do to deserve a spot on Queerty? Coming out to a bunch of perceived dumb hockey jock puck throwers? Wow, so incredibly notable.

    Fuck this kid. And fuck the white privilege that will continue to place his existence above everyone else’s.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Craig: Do you want people to apologize to you for being white?

    If you’re too dumb to understand the significance of this post, we can’t fault you on that. But try working on your anger and your bigotry.

  • Jeffree

    @Craig: I feel sorry for you. When *you* do something on the scale that Brendan did, I personally will offer kudos. And maybe when you die, people will find it in their hearts to forgive you for the bitter hissy fit you just threw.

  • Craig

    @justiceontherocks: I don’t need any damn apology. What the hell is that going to do? Nor did I miss any apparent significance in this post, because it has none. It was a tragic, freak accident that could’ve happened to anyone. No one needs to hear this privileged white queen’s gay story (except white gays, of course).

    And don’t you dare preach to me about bigotry, since you people continue to have a monopoly on anything racially bigoted. The gay community caters exclusively to white gay men, and always has.

    @Jeffree: Again, what the hell did he do? Palling around with dumb white jocks and benefiting from his white privilege, like all the other white queens. That is all. Congratufuckinglations.

  • Soupy

    this was a story in Canada when it happened. As is the Canadian way, it was handled without sensationalism or exploitation. Canada is such a hockey nation, that coming out is a very big deal. His father continues to support gay causes and speak out. This isn’t about white privilege. It’s about dignity and respect.

  • Resist

    Craig : I think your anger is misguided. You speak as though white people think all white people are the same and watch out for each other in this “privilege” world. Try being Jewish in the white gay world. Or try being of Irish-Catholic descent! Most white gays despise someone like Brendan Burke for just that reason. Believe me, in NYC any African-American will get hired long before anyone named “Burke” in any gay establishment.

  • Craig

    @Resist: You have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. The moment I hear an ACTUAL person of color say some tripe like that, I might be inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt. Don’t give me this “try being Jewish/Irish-Catholic/any AA will get hired” absolute bs. It’s nothing but a cliche response that white queens use to try to distance themselves from their white privilege.

  • Resist

    Craig : I disagree. I won’t deny that there are cases of racism against gays-of-color, by gays, as well. But I’ve also lived in NYC for the last 20 years or so, deeply entrenched in the gay world, and know what goes on.

  • DeWayne

    Craig sounds just like a certain embittered ole black porn queen we would all like to forget. No chip on his shoulder more like an abscessed crater!

  • Resist

    DeWayne : Craig has a right to believe in the “white privilege” theory and be angry about it if he wants. It’s just that I can’t see how it has much relevance to this story.

  • Craig

    @Resist: If only for the sake of YOUR argument it was a theory…

  • Jeffree

    @Craig: You must have close ties to Canada to know so much about the country and how hockey is viewed there.

  • Resist

    Craig : Well, maybe the white-privilege theory really is true, or not, or partially true, or only true in some cases. I just don’t see how it really applies to this story at all, which is basically just about a part of the sports world (not always gay-friendly) being cool about the sexuality of someone they liked otherwise. Is it really race-relevant?

  • justiceontherocks

    @Craig: “You people.” Really. What “you people” is that??

    Enjoy your pathetic unhappy life. Feel free to come back when your IQ hits double digits.

  • Marc


    Seriously? Craig’s comments are so out of line that I’m hoping they’re parody, but I have a hard time believing gay Irish-Catholics or Jews face the same systemic discrimination as African-Americans. I’m not a New Yorker, but I just don’t see the same degree of exclusion and/or fetishization that African-American males face.

  • lemon-lime

    Come on people, don’t feed the trolls. @Craig has anger issues and we’re only feeding into his need for attention by paying him any attention at all. Best to just ignore folks like him, they complain left and right while doing nothing to change the circumstances or rise above the “discrimination” they perceive they are faced with.

    Unless he is typing out his responses on a library computer, he is already leaps and bounds more queeny and priveledged than hundreds of thousands of poor *white and minority* children in every major city who lack basic access to computers and the internet.

  • Kieran

    Just like with any group of people, gays produce their outstanding heroes like Brendan Burke……….and then they also have their good-for-nothing moron assholes like Craig.

  • Craig

    @Marc: Exactly, because he’s full of it, like I already said.

    @justiceontherocks: Your pitiful attempts to mischaracterize me and attack me only serve to show how you try to mask the reality of your white privilege.

    @lemon-lime: Horseshit.

    @Kieran: People like you will never realize the implications of white privilege, and you aren’t expected to. But that doesn’t mean gay minorities who do recognize it, won’t stop reminding you of it, even if you don’t accept it yourself. You deserve for all the injustices you people have committed and continue to commit against gay people of color.

  • Resist

    Marc : It really is true, though, about certain white ethnic groups in the NYC gay community (even though that varies, too, with several cliques and “communities”) being refused “admittance” into most of the “gay world.” There are several theories about it (like the way most Manhattan gays are made up of newcomers to the city from Protestant backgrounds and are taught to despise certain groups to be “classy”, etc.) but it’s there..whatever the case. I’ll admit, I maybe shouldn’t say that overall there’s the same degree of bigotry gays would have against African-Americans. It’s just in a different way. And, again, this is just the general rule- I’m not saying every single NYC gay feels that way about anyone or everything. (Craig thinks gays admire the white Burkes, when really most NYC gays probably wish both micky Brendan AND his father had been taken out). Anyway, I wouldn’t call Craig a horrible person- just very angry. And angry enough to be bringing up a subject that barely applies to the Burke/hockey story.

  • Resist

    Marc As far as “fetishization” goes, that’s there with other groups besides the AAs too! Plenty of Manhattan elites who secretly visit the Bronx and Brooklyn to hunt out straight redheaded c–k to pay for. Though I’m not criticizing that.

  • Gabi

    My mascara is running…

  • greenmanTN

    Good lord. Quite a detour these comments have taken!

    “White privilege” isn’t the problem. In fact there IS no problem. If Brendan Burke benefited from any privilege it’s from being the son of the Maple Leafs’ president. I mean, hello? But you know what? Over and over again it’s been shown that people who know gay people are less homophobic and more likely to vote for gay rights. It’s also true that sports are considered more homophobic than other segments of society. And maybe Brendan Burke got some consideration that a kid whose dad didn’t have ‘juice’ in the hockey world wouldn’t have gotten, but he came out and was accepted and hopefully people learned something from it. You have to work really hard to turn that into a bad thing. He was an out athlete when many aren’t and it’s a shame he died.

    If you want to complain about the objectification of races or cultures how about waiting until the story has the slightest fucking thing to do with that? Saying that someone did something good doesn’t take anything away from anyone else. If you think there are stories of people whose contributions and achievements have been overlooked then by all means talk about what THEY did, but not by bitching about gains made by other people or NOBODY wins!

  • David Gervais

    Craig? So far you’re the only person here who sees racism in the story.

    This is Canadian Hockey we’re talking about here.

    A few months ago, two players from opposite teams were in the penalty box, One called the other a N(can’t be typed here). The targeted player’s entire team left the ice in support of him. When the league tried to punish the team for refusing to tolerate racism, the entire country was so incensed that the League quickly backed down.

    Search at if you need to verify this.

  • sfkendoll

    If, after watching this video, you cannot feel any empathy for this young man and his teammates, then you are just another self-hating and bitter human being. Just one question to you: What have you done with your life, other than to spew hate and bigotry? Yeah, I thought so!

Comments are closed.