Don Cherry has often been as outspoken as his flamboyant suits. He's in very hot water again for comments some say target immigrants (om Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The sports-Remembrance Day poppy controversy continues: Don Cherry

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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.

RCI; Nov 11/19: Don Cherry fired for poppy comment

There has been a huge backlash accusing him of racism and he was fired by the network.

Coach’s Corner: Don Cherry with his straight man, Ron McLean who quickly apologised himself for Cherry’s comments, which some interpret as a betrayal of his longtime co-host and friend. (via CBC)

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.

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2 comments on “The sports-Remembrance Day poppy controversy continues: Don Cherry
  1. Avatar JOHN WATT says:

    This was blown way out of proportion. In to-days hyper sensitive world and radical on line mean spirited twitters twits this was a modern day witch hunt. The quiet canadians who do not spend every moment on social media or twitter really support Don. Reality 1/4 million now petition signatures of support combined with the millions of us quiet no radical types says it all. People have had enough of this political correctness gone too far. Hope Don gets picked up with another outlet…Ron Maclean does not look good on this at all, turning his back on Cheery when Don backed him on numerous times over the decades with his own firing threats he is a back stabber choke.

  2. Avatar colette knox says:

    I love Don Cherry. What I find worst than what he said, … which is true … is that he was fired for it. No one can say anything anymore. You are “simply crusified for anything that a small minority does not like. Don Cherry is a hero for the military. He did and does amazing work to promote those soldiers who gave their lives for us and keep doing it to keep us safe.
    What did that small minority did to promote them ??? I would say A BIG NOTHING. I change that, they did something, they got Don Cherry fired. Shame on those SPINELESS executives.