Media Commentary – Nov. 25, 2009

So today I’m reading the Toronto Star’s sports section, as I am wont to do, and the big story on page S1 is that Maple Leaf General Manager Brian Burke’s son Brendan is gay. [N.B. I have not read the Star’s article.]

And this is news why?

Now, first let me start off by saying I can see where the newsworthiness comes from. Brian Burke is the GM of arguably the most famous hockey team in the world (I debate this, of course) and he is known for wanting toughness and truculence in his players. As ESPN’s John Buccigross writes in his column, Burke is Mr. Testosterone. And if you buy into the stereotype that gay men are effeminate and weak (a ‘poof’ as I believe I have seen used as a descriptor in British pop culture), then this admission would be completely counter-intuitive.

But let’s strip this down to its base elements. Brendan is for all intents and purposes a private individual who just so happens to be the son of the most powerful man in Toronto sports at the moment. He is a private individual who has the right to live his life how he chooses and his personal choices (to come out) and orientation are no one’s business but his and his loved ones.

It’s a shame that we are not at the point where a person’s orientation or ethnicity (I’m looking at you, French Montréal media) is a non-issue. It truly is. If we are so enlightened in this day and age, why is it that a young man (or woman) coming out is treated as news? It should not be.

I had more but I got distracted and lost my train of thought.

Other takes on the issue:

Toronto Sun

The Hockey News

The Globe and Mail