I suppose it’s only fitting to finally drag this post out of the vault and publish it.
In fact, it’s not fitting, it’s late. Too late.
The subject was Brendan Burke, the son of the Leafs GM Brian Burke. In late November, the younger Burke made headlines for the acknowledgement that he was gay.
Unfortunately, the Burke family is in the news on sadder circumstances. Brendan was killed in a car accident on Friday.
At the time of his coming out, there were a lot of comments applauding the announcement, but an equal amount with the general opinion of “who cares?”
There was enough who cares from areas like FromTheRink and TSN, that I was originally thinking of posting the opinion that this would not have been a story, that it would not have been relevant at all, if the media itself didn’t make it relevant. The same way the media can shine lights on stories in desperate need of attention (or conversely bury things that perhaps should be heard), this appeared to be a case of a lot of something being made of nothing.
I read columns like this one from TSN’s James Cybulski, where he dreams of a time when this sort of news isn’t newsworthy and then shake my head at the back and forth of it. It’s newsworthy because they make it newsworthy and idly talking about how one hopes that someday it isn’t newsworthy just continues to run the spinning media cyclone.
I was prepared to file my criticism of the way that this was only a story because someone decided to take a small sweet article by Buccigross and put it on TSN’s front page, to file it in the Globe and Mail and to interview the kid on national TV. This attention forced Brian Burke to file his own statement acknowledging it, but also firing a shot about how it shouldn’t be a big deal, because it’s not a big deal.
With these thoughts brewing in my head, I do what I normally do when I want to be writing: I sauntered off and went to the bar.
While I was there, someone made a joke about the story, and then someone else made another one, and then there were a few more. Changing the name of the team to the Toronto Flowers, changing their team colours to a Pride rainbow. The usual variety of short-sightedness by the regular joes who stand and hold the bar up.
In an instant, I realised that Cybulski was right. We’re not there yet and I was naive to think otherwise.
It’s a shame. And now Brendan Burke is gone.