Cherry’s response? – “I won’t be a tamed robot!”
Don Cherry, an iconic Canadian hockey commentator, has been fired by Sportsnet for his on-air remarks on Saturday that alleged that the country’s immigrants don’t properly honor fallen soldiers.
Cherry, 85, used his “Coach’s Corner” segment on “Hockey Night In Canada” to criticize individuals who didn’t wear poppy pins leading up the nation’s Remembrance Day. The pins are sold by veterans groups and are worn to symbolically honor those who served.
“I live in Mississauga [Ontario]. Very few people wear the poppy. Downtown Toronto, forget it. Nobody wears the poppy. … Now you go to the small cities. 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 for that,” Cherry said.
After immediate backlash on social media Sunday, the majority of media reaction Monday morning called for Cherry’s removal. By the afternoon, word spread that he had been fired.
“Sports brings people together. It unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right thing for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for,” Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
Cherry would not take back what he said.
“I know what I said and I meant it,” Cherry told the Toronto Sun after he was fired. “Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honor our fallen soldiers.”
He added to the newspaper that: “To keep my job, I cannot be turned into a tamed robot.”