Don Cherry’s comments about immigrants and Remembrance Day in Canada were always likely to have strong consequences. And so it turns out, as reports on November 11 suggest longtime Hockey Night In Canada analyst Don Cherry fired by Sportsnet. Cherry had received widespread criticism for his comments.
“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,” the statement, tweeted by SportsnetPR, read. “During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.
It continues: “Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years. We would like to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada.”
“It has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” reads the statement, which was tweeted out by Sportsnet PR, in part.
EARLIER: On Saturday, November 9, Cherry said on HNIC of immigrants in Canada: “You people that come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
As was to be expected, there was an immediate backlash, with calls for the 85-year-old to be fired.
At first, Sportsnet did nothing other than offer a brief apology. Now, though, on Monday, November 11 the network has belatedly acted decisively.
Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington tweeted on Monday afternoon that Cherry has been fired by the network.
Soon after that report, news of Cherry’s apparent dismissal was everywhere, and the network confirmed it later on Monday.
A follow-up tweet posted by Warmington suggested that Cherry is “quite hurt they would do this on Remembrance Day of all days.”
That’s a statement from Cherry which is likely to inflame further debate, given the nature of his comments.
Cherry had hosted Coach’s Corner since 1982 but the relevance of his appearances today has been the subject of much debate in recent years.
His comments on Saturday made national headlines and received high-profile attention. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was one such public figure who called out Cherry.
Sportsnet’s statement acknowledges that “Don is synonymous with hockey.” That synonymity may be about to end, it seems.