Just so we’re clear on this, the purpose here is not to scream for Brandon Spikes to be fined or suspended for his awkward, unfunny, insensitive tweet about the spiders and the gay people. I’m not big on fire and brimstone. But I am big on education and awareness, and I’m hoping we get some of each out of all this.
I’m told the joke was borrowed from a British comedian. Really? Hope the act got better after that one. Anyway, the next time Brandon Spikes feels the need to set up a joke with, “I’m homophobic,” I suggest he first reach out to Patrick Burke, a Boston-based scout with the Philadelphia Flyers, or Patrick’s dad, Toronto Maple Leafs president Brian Burke. A few years back, Brian’s son Brendan — Patrick’s kid brother — came home from college with a really cool Christmas gift: He decided to tell his family he’s gay. Brendan also came out to the hockey team at Miami (Ohio) University, where he was student manager.
Brendan Burke had a goal: He wanted to be an advocate for gays in sports. Many of you know the next chapter in this story, how a couple of years later Brendan was killed in a car accident. Since then, the Burke family has carried on for Brendan in a very big way. It’s why Brian Burke rides in the Toronto Gay Pride parade. It’s why Patrick Burke helped establish “You Can Play,” which, according to its website, is “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.”
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