Former Maple Leafs GM Burke: ‘Russia should not be awarded another international competition’

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Often outspoken, former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has become the latest person to speak out against Russia’s highly controversial anti-gay propaganda laws.

Burke’s late son Brendan came out in 2009. Brendan’s brother, Patrick Burke, is the co-founder of the You Can Play Project – a worldwide initiative aimed at providing “a means for athletes, coaches, and fans to stand up and create an atmosphere of inclusion” in all sports for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws have angered people across the world, leading to protests and calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Burke, according to a report in the Globe and Mail, does not support such a boycott of the upcoming Sochi Games.

However, he does not believe that Russia should be awarded any future international competitions, so long as that country’s anti-gay laws remain.

“People should make it known that this type of bias can’t take place,” said Burke, as per the Globe and Mail.

“But I think a boycott is misplaced. A boycott punishes the athletes. If we say we’re not going in the face of these laws, I think that punishes every Canadian, American, Argentinian athlete that’s prepared so hard for these Games. I don’t think it’s appropriate.

“The appropriate measure should be that as long as these laws are on the books, Russia should not be awarded another international competition. In the meantime, they’ve got to guarantee everybody’s safety.”