It’s hard to be a patriot nowadays…
Canadian station Sportsnet terminated iconic NHL analyst Don Cherry on Monday for statements he made about refugees and dead Canadian soldiers on Saturday night as he was on television.
Cherry expressed his disappointment to people living in Mississauga or central Toronto not sporting poppy pins that are intended to commemorate deceased soldiers in the days before the Remembrance Day of Canada, which is in the same tradition as the United States Memorial Day. The Washington Post reported, there are large immigrant communities in both parts of Toronto.
“You people love — you, that come here, whatever it is — you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life, that you enjoy in Canada,’” Cherry said on-air.
Comment that got Don Cherry fired:
“People … come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk & honey. At least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies .. These guys pay for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada. These guys pay the biggest price.” pic.twitter.com/QWoQPaiY47
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 11, 2019
The network soon crumpled underneath a hashtag campaign called #FireDonCherry advocating Cherry’s dismissal. On Monday Sportsnet posted a message confirming the fate of the analyst.
“Sports bring people together — it unites us, not divides us,” the statement from Network President Bart Yablsey said. “Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.”
Statement from Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/LRKrww0AQ1
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 11, 2019
The NHL also condemned the remarks made by Cherry, which they said was “in direct conflict with the values of diversity and inclusion.”
“While we recognize Don Cherry’s four decades of service broadcasting NHL games, today’s decision was a justifiable response to his comments on Saturday night,” the statement said. “The opinions he expressed are in direct conflict with the values of diversity and inclusion that we embrace as pillars of the sport.”
However, Cherry is not backing away from the remarks.
“I know what I said and I meant it,” the commentator told the Toronto Sun. “Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honor our fallen soldiers.”
“I speak the truth and I walk the walk,” he continued. “I have visited the bases of the troops, been to Afghanistan with our brave soldiers at Christmas, been to cemeteries of our fallen around the world and honored our fallen troops on ‘Coach’s Corner.’”
“To keep my job, I cannot be turned into a tamed robot,” Cherry added.
Cherry’s long-time television colleague, Ron MacLean, disassociated himself from the remarks, calling them “hurtful, discriminatory,” and “flat-out wrong.”
“Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory, which were flat-out wrong,” MacLean said in a statement. “I sat there, did not catch it, did not respond. … Last night was a really great lesson for Don and me. We were wrong, and I sincerely apologize. I wanted to thank you for calling me and Don on that last night. ”
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 11, 2019