At day's end, as uncomfortable as he might feel being a spokesman for a cause, Brian is just doing what he feels he needs to do. As the GQ writer Mary Rogan put, Brian felt had no choice but to "go second."
The Burke story continues to move me. Salmon's coverage of Cook, which received considerable criticism from people who felt it was irrelevant, reignited the emotion. Over the weekend, an openly gay Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Scott Allison, the founder and CEO of startup teamly, wrote a fantastic piece for Forbes, Gay in Silicon Valley: A Founder's Perspective.
In it, Allison wrote:
... even if you're straight, sexuality should matter to you too. If you want to really know me then you need to know a major part of my identity. Being gay isn't the same as being straight ...
In a work context it's awkward. People always assume you're straight, and there's never an ideal time to come out to new work colleagues or acquaintances ...
... In the whole of the Fortune 1000 there isn't a single openly gay CEO. It's a shame there's so few role models for young gay entrepreneurs.
And, with few exceptions, the media refuses to broach the subject.In "Don't Ignore Tim Cook's Sexuality," Salmon argues that the media subscribes to an unofficial "don't ask, don't tell" policy that only serves to further the stigma associated with homosexuality:
Keeping his [referring to Tim Cook] sexuality a secret is no longer an option. And so the press shouldn't treat it as though it's something to be avoided at all costs. There's no ethical dilemma when it comes to reporting on Cook's sexuality: rather, the ethical dilemma comes in not reporting it ...So incredibly well-stated. I'll take Allison and Salmon's statements a step further. If Tim Cook, or somebody of the same or similar status, discloses their sexuality publicly, they save lives. I'm convinced Brendan, Brian and Patrick Burke and the You Can Play project has done just that. They bring hope and support to young hockey players across Canada and the U.S. who struggle with playing the sport as gay men (and women) in small towns to large cities across North America.
The Moral DilemmaThat raises the question: Do gay CEOs have an obligation to come out? In sports, Brendan Burke didn't ask for the responsibility. Neither did Brian or Patrick. They flat took it on. Imagine the global impact of a Tim Cook doing likewise. As strongly as I feel about the subject, I'm just as uneasy. I'm not gay. I don't know how it feels to be in a gay hockey player's or a gay CEO's shoes. All I can do is try to relate with the old standard (but true) lines, such as I have tons of gay friends. In fact, our very best friends are a lesbian couple raising three wonderful children in the Bay Area. That association, of course, does not give me the right to assign responsibility to another human being.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV