Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry fired after making racist comment on air


Kevin Allen


USA TODAY

Published 4: 16 PM EST Nov 11, 2019

Canadian hockey commentator Don Cherry, a man known for his flamboyant suits and controversial comments, has been fired after making a racially inflamed remark during Saturday’s broadcast.

“Sports brings people together – it unites us, not divides us,” Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley said in a release. “Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided that 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.”

Cherry, who coached the Boston Bruins for five seasons in the 1970s, had doing the Coach’s Corner segment with Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada for 35 seasons.

On Saturday’s broadcast, Cherry accused immigrants of not respecting Canada’s tradition of wearing poppies to honor military heroes.

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“You people … love our way of life, love our milk and honey,” Cherry said. “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.”

MacLean apologized on Twitter Sunday night, saying, “It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it.”

Cherry has a long history of saying things that got him in trouble. In the early years of Coach’s Corner, he was often disrespectful of European players. Even last season, he called the Carolina Hurricanes “a bunch of jerks” because they followed home wins with a choreographed celebration.

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But despite the controversy, he remained popular with many Canadians.

Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons was among those calling for Cherry to be fired after his Saturday comment.

“He has always been a polarizing figure, but mostly in a good way,” Simmons told USA TODAY Sports before the firing was announced. “Whenever he crosses the line and his employment is debated – as it is now – he usually wins in the polls, if you want to call it that.”

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