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You Can Play president Patrick Burke on D&C: Rumor of Canadiens player coming out ‘total nonsense’ 03.06.13 at 11:58 am ET
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Flyers scout Patrick Burke (left) appears alongside his father, former Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, in an ad for the social activist organization You Can Play. (AP)

Flyers scout Patrick Burke, president of the social activist group You Can Play, joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the rumor that a Canadiens player was preparing to announce publicly that he’s gay.

“It’s total nonsense,” Burke said. “It’s completely fabricated. There’s no truth to this rumor. It was created by an anonymous Twitter account. It was then picked up by a couple of the less-reliable, let’s say, gay blogs. And it’s now being repeated in mainstream media.

Josh Gorges is the rumored player, according to this Twitter account. Josh is recently engaged to a lovely woman. I’ve spoken with the Canadiens about this. It’s very confusing to them. Obviously they’re supportive if they did have a gay player, and Josh is supportive of any potentially gay teammates. But it’s not him.”

Burke started You Can Play two years after the death of his brother, Brendan Burke, in a car accident in 2010. Brendan was an openly gay student manager for the Miami (Ohio) University hockey team and spoke out against homophobia in sports. The brothers are the sons of former Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.

Burke predicted a player will come out sometime in the near future.

“I think the next 12-18 months,” he said. “I think there’s a chance it could happen sometime this offseason or next offseason. I think we’re very, very close here, and within the next year-and-a-half or so it will happen.”

Added Burke: “I just think we’re ready. The players who have done videos for us — for the Bruins it’s Zdeno Chara, it’s Shawn Thornton, it’s Andrew Ference — the leaders in the league are stepping up and saying that we’re ready for this. The Bruins were recently awarded an award from MassEquality. At the acceptance speech they said, ‘The Boston Bruins are ready for a gay player, we will accept a gay player, we will welcome a gay player as long as he’s good enough to help us win.’ That’s something that’s echoed around the league by players, by management, by coaches. As long as a guy’s good enough to help a team win, who cares?”

Burke also said there are players whose homosexuality is known to some teammates.

“There are players who are out to members of their team,” Burke said. “Members of the team know that he’s a gay player; doesn’t have an effect on the way they treat him. So, when the first player does do this publicly, his teammates will be ready for it.”

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