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NCAA scoring champ Andy Miele says the life and tragic death of Brendan Burke have heightened his hockey team's awareness of gay issues.
While homophobic slurs are kicked around as freely as a football on many sports teams across the country, Miele says there's no place for such hatred on Miami University of Ohio's RedHawks, according to an article on OutSports.com. Having cherished and then lost their gay student manager, Brendan Burke, who died a year ago in a car accident, participants in the Miami hockey program say they're not afraid to hit the showers with a gay teammate or speak out against homophobia.
"One stereotype that people have about gay people is that they're predators and they're going to come on to straight guys," said defenseman Chris Wideman. "But the one thing I learned from Brendan is that's not how it is. The idea that a gay guy is going to force himself on you in a shower is totally unrealistic."
Miele, who was named the 2011 Player of the Year for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, was close friend of Burke's and remembers nights out dancing with his gay friend at a local bar. An outspoken supporter of gay acceptance both on and off the field, Miele isn't concerned about negative reactions from other athletes or fans.
"If someone wants to look down upon me because of my feelings on this issue, that's their loss," he said. "You play hockey because of the way you play it, not because of your outlook on certain issues."
Read the full article here.