Gay athletes shouldn’t have to hide sexuality

There are gay players in every major league sport from the National Hockey League to Major League Baseball, wrote columnist Bill Lankoff in The Niagara Falls Review Nov. 26. Unlike Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s son, Brendan, they just can’t tell anyone.

It’s time for them to stop hiding, says Paul Dennis, who spent almost 20 years as an adviser, psychologist and official hand-holder, with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"If a player today wanted to be open about it, I would encourage it. If a person chose to disclose (being gay), a team would be supportive in today’s society. I think it would be good for the player and good for society,” said Dennis, now adjunct professor of sports psychology at York University and the University of Toronto. "Twenty years ago, I probably wouldn’t have said that.”

It is a potential for retribution from outside sources, said Dennis, more than a fear of what teammates might think that keeps players in the closet. "People shouldn’t have to feel pressured and they shouldn’t have to hold in things like being gay,” said Dennis, "but outside the team there remains the possibility of that kind of abuse.”

Democracy? Don’t think so

The move to give shareholders more say in corporate decisions is positive, wrote Allan Hutchinson, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in a letter to The Globe and Mail Nov. 26.

However, while this is said to be done in the name of democracy, it is really about private-ownership rights. If there was really any serious interest in introducing democracy to corporate governance, the interests of those affected by corporate decisions and power (i.e. employees, consumers, community etc.) would be included, along with shareholders.

Election reform plan not enough

According to figures from York University Professor Robert MacDermid, of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, corporate and union contributions amounted to only 14.3 per cent of the money raised by Toronto’s candidates in the 2006 municipal elections, wrote columnist Royson James in the Toronto Star Nov. 26. Across the GTA they accounted for 32.8 per cent of the money raised, and in some cities as much as 77 per cent.

Bowman’s history of The Band cited in article

London music fans who have never heard of London sax man Gerry Penfound, who died in 1994, may not realize how the famous five members of The Band were a sextet – as the Hawks – into late 1964, wrote the London Free Press Nov. 26.

The Band’s chief historian, Rob Bowman, a professor in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, writes: “Jerry Penfound was eased out of the group by the end of the year.” Penfound’s fellow Londoner, keyboard genius Garth Hudson, was a master of the sax parts, too, Bowman suggests, perhaps leaving Penfound the odd man out late in 1964. (Penfound seems to have been Gerry to many friends in London, and Jerry in Band and Hawks lore and on other occasions.)

Lions’ Foley expects to test free agency

If the BC Lions are to rejoin the ruling elite of the Canadian Football League, they must keep building blocks such as rush end Ricky Foley, the West Division nominee for Canadian player of the year, wrote Canwest News Service Nov. 25, in a story about the former York Lions player.

Foley, born, raised and educated exclusively in Canada, is one of the positive developments in a season of unmet expectations for the Lions. Thursday night, at the CFL awards gala in Calgary, Foley will find out if he impressed voters enough to outpoll Montreal Alouettes slotback Ben Cahoon, the East nominee, for the national award.

Foley becomes an unrestricted free agent on Feb. 15, and he says it’s “only 50-50” that he’ll return to BC next season. He grew up on the family farm in Courtice, Ont., east of Toronto, went to York University and was taken fourth overall by the Lions in the 2006 CFL draft. Following BC’s 56-18 loss in the East Division final Sunday in Montreal, Foley spent two days packing up four years’ worth of stuff on the expectation that he might not be back.

Hamilton’s Randle Reef frustration

Enough is enough. Yet again, the actual work of cleaning up Randle Reef in Hamilton harbour has been delayed, wrote Howard Elliott in a letter to The Hamilton Spectator Nov. 26.

And each delay is lost potential. Researchers at York University say getting the harbour off the Great Lakes hot spots list would be worth about $1 billion to Hamilton in direct and indirect revenue generation in areas such as tourism.

On air

  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the massive recall by Toyota of cars with defective accelerator pedals, on CTV News Nov. 25.