CHICAGO: Pro Sports Heroes Cheered At Gay Pride Parade
A massive crowd cheered the first-time appearances of major league sports teams in yesterday's gay pride parade in Chicago.
An eclectic mix of stars -- the Stanley Cup with former Blackhawk Brent Sopel, the Cubs' Ernie Banks and country singer Chely Wright -- basked in the celebration of an estimated 450,000 who attended the 41st annual Pride Parade in the Lake View neighborhood Sunday. Sopel, who stood on the float of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association, said he participated to honor the memory of the gay son of his former general manager. Brendan Burke, son of Brian Burke, the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, came out when he was 21. He was killed in February in a car accident. Banks rode on a float with the Ricketts family, who bought the Cubs last fall and who made the team's first official appearance in the parade. Banks said he participated at the Ricketts' behest and to thank the neighborhood Cubs fans.