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The famed hockey player, Bobby Orr, has defended Don Cherry, saying that his firing by Sportsnet was disgraceful, according to The Score.
Speaking to WEEI, Orr stated that he knew Cherry better then anyone. “He’s not a bigot and he’s not a racist. This guy is the most generous, caring guy that I know.”
Orr’s comments come after a Remembrance Day rant on Coaches Corner, where Cherry said “You people that come here, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that.”
Some commentators believed that Cherry was referring to inner-city immigrants of colour, despite the fact that the hockey icon has often used the term “you people” to describe his viewers.
Cherry was fired on Remembrance Day, which Orr saw as being additionally insulting due to Cherry’s advocacy for Canadian veterans. “What they’ve done to him up there is disgraceful. It really is,” Orr continued.
Cherry coached Orr for two years when he played for the Boston Bruins. Cherry has called Orr his favourite player of all time.
Former Toronto Maple Leafs player Nazem Kadri told reporters Tuesday he also thinks Cherry’s statements were taken out of context.
“[Cherry] has been there for so long, it’s going to be hard to see [Coach’s Corner] without him, that’s definitely unfortunate. I know Grapes and I don’t think it came across like everyone is making it sound. I think with what he said, it was maybe just said incorrectly. People maybe took it out of context a little bit. I know Grapes is a great person and am sad to see him go.”