Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and his son Patrick have launched a campaign in an effort to combat homophobia in professional sports.
The You Can Play project kicked off Sunday with the Burkes appearing in a public service announcement along with Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and winger Joffrey Lupul and other NHL stars including Rick Nash, Daniel Alfredsson and Henrik Lundqvist.
Brian Burke’s other son, Brendan, came out publicly in 2009, while he was the manager of the Miami of Ohio University’s hockey team. That was three months before he was killed in a car crash.
His brother, Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke, created the You Can Play campaign. Its message is simple: “If you can play, you can play.”
“Before my brother Brendan passed away in 2010 he was the first person to fight for the rights of gay athletes in professional hockey,” Burke said in the video.
“Since his accident my family has fought hard to carry on his legacy and ensure that LGBT athletes around the world are afforded equal opportunity, judged only by their talent, character and work ethic in their sport.”