Time for Gay CEOs to Take a Stand: Opinion
Salmon framed Cook's homosexuality as common knowledge in Silicon Valley. Cook himself has never spoken about it publicly.
The article hit about a year after the death of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke's son, Brendan. Brendan died in a car accident shortly after coming out in a very public way.
A hockey guy from a hockey family put himself out there -- big time. That remains, by and large, unprecedented in sports.
Though Brendan never played in the National Hockey League, he has strong ties to the sport at several levels. In particular, hockey people know his Dad, Brian, as a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails Irish American. When Brendan appeared on national television to discuss the issue, Brian was right there next to him. As a member of this collective called humanity, I felt pride and had hope for society while watching the elder Burke stand by his son.
But he did not stop there. As this excellent GQ article explains, Burke has become an advocate for open, no-strings-attached acceptance of gay athletes. He participated in Toronto's gay pride parade this year. He regularly speaks to colleges, youth groups and other entities.
Brendan's death led his brother, Patrick, a scout in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, to conceive the You Can Play project. Since its formation, Patrick has enlisted the support of the NHL, all of its franchises and a whole host of its most high-profile players. Promotional announcements air online and during NHL telecasts.
Brendan didn't have to do it, but he assumed a massive responsibility when he came out. Simply put, he answered the call.