Last year I praised Hall of Fame ex-Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin for speaking out against homophobia in the NFL.
Now I’m happy to lend the same praise to Patrick Burke, Brian Burke, Rick Nash, Duncan Keith, Brian Boyle, Matt Moulson, Joffrey Lupal, Claude Giroux, Daniel Alfredsson, Scott Hartnell, Corey Perry, Andy Greene, Dion Phaneuf and Henrik Lundqvist, all of whom appear in the public service announcement video for You Can Play.
You Can Play is the project of Patrick Burke, son of Maple Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke, whose brother, Brenden, came out publicly in November 2009. Just three months later, Brenden died in a car accident. In a tribute to his brother, Patrick wrote
We need to continue to make it clear that we judge players, scouts, coaches, and executives only by whether they can contribute to a championship hockey team. A question posed thousands of times by general managers around the league is, “Can he play?” We need to make it clear to every hockey player – gay, straight, black, white, religious, atheist, tall, short, whatever – if you can play, we welcome you.
He has since made it his mission to eliminate any breed of intolerance in hockey with a simple message – If you can play, you can play.