Fired amid accusations of racism, a rally and online petition of support underway
It began with a television rant that appeared to target immigrants to Canada.
Longtime hockey coach and commentator Don Cherry has been a feature on the much loved “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast for 40 years. Often as outspoken as his flamboyant suits, Cherry is no stranger to criticism for his comments on Coach’s Corner, a segment of the broadcast that is easily as much a draw for viewers as the game itself.
An ardent supporter of Canada’s current military and of veterans, during last Saturday’s broadcast he made a divisive comment apparently indicating that newcomers were not respecting Canada’s fallen soldiers because they weren’t wearing poppies.
There has been a huge backlash accusing him of racism and he was fired by the network.
He has since made comments attempting to mitigate what he said and indicating what he allegedly meant to say, but refuses to apologise.
On the other side, a large number of fans have offered support for the 85-year-old. An online petition started on Monay already has well over 182,000 signatures many of whom make comments regarding the suppression of free speech. The petition demands CBC and Sportsnet rehire the commentator saying “He may be politically incorrect, and may not have been as careful as he should have in his remarks, but his offence does not warrant firing. Sportsnet and CBC should not cave into a mob of liberals and twitter activists”
Controversial comments via CBC Sports Nov 10/19
A rally is planned for this afternoon in front of the Toronto offices of Sportsnet which broadcasts the game with Coach’s Corner.
What might have been seen as a story about a media figure that would come and quickly go, has instead turned into a national cause which is further dividing Canada.
While immigrants appear to be the alleged target for lack of respect for Canada’s, others have pointed out Canada’s own failure in helping them understand the connection with Remembrance day, and the fact that many of those born and raised here, also have a limited understanding of the history and also don’t wear poppies during November’s Remembrance Week and Day.
- CBC: S. Hogan: How some former and current soldiers reacted to Cherry’s poppy comment
- CBC: Nov 12/19: video interview with Cherry after firing
- CP24: Nov 13/19: Former Mississauga mayor, 95-yr-old McCallion, supports rally for Cherry (video report)
- Toronto Sun: J.Warmington: Nov 12/19: Fired and betrayed, Don Cherry stands firm
- CTV: R. Lau: Nov 13/19: Bring back Cherry petition (+ video interview with Cherry after firing)
- BlogTO; B. Robertson: Nov 13/19: Rally in Toronto to support Don Cherry