The man who was voted as the seventh-greatest Canadian of all time in a 2004 TV special has now been fired by the media outlet Sportsnet after making politically-charged comments about Canadian immigrants. Though his Coach’s Corner segment has been a standard in the hockey universe for nearly 40 years and has often featured Cherry’s personal opinions, a social media outburst over his most recent statements was enough to cause his dismissal from the air.
Cherry addressed the tradition of wearing poppies as a way to remember those who sacrificed themselves in military combat for Remembrance Day, saying that “very few people” or “nobody” wears the poppy anymore depending on what part of Canada they reside in.
But the comment that stirred anger came later in the segment, where he seemingly directed the conversation toward immigrants.
“You people love -- that come here, whatever it is -- you love our way of life,” Cherry said. “You love our milk and honey... at least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that.”
His co-host, Ron MacLean, sat silently alongside Cherry during the broadcast, but later spoke on what had been said.
“I wanted to address what happened last night…” MacLean said. “Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory, [and] which were flat out wrong. We at Sportsnet have apologized; it certainly doesn’t stand for what Sportsnet or Rogers represents. We know diversity is the strength of the country.
“I owe you an apology, too. I sat there, did not catch it, [and] did not respond.”
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) had tried “several times to fire him” through the years, according to a New York Times piece by Curtis Rush, for his controversial and sometimes inflammatory remarks, but nothing was enough to displace him until his comments from last night.
Cherry, a longtime hockey player and former coach of the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies (of the ‘80s NHL), has not yet taken any steps to apologize for his comments.