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Longtime legendary TV personality Don Cherry has been fired by Sportsnet, first reported by the Toronto Sun‘s Joe Warmington.
Cherry triggered outrage on Twitter, with many accusing of him racism, when he said immigrants should honour those who fought for our freedom and way of life they came here to enjoy:
“You people love—they come here whatever it is—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. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada. These guys paid the biggest price.”
“Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network. We have spoken to Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks,” read the press release in all caps and signed by Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley.
Following the firing, Sportsnet released a statement:
“Sports brings people together — it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussion with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During this broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.
The next day, Ron MacLean took to Twitter to apologize for Cherry’s comments.
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.”
“I have just learned I’ve been fired by Sportsnet for comments made on Coach’s Corner Nov. 9,” Cherry told Joe Warmington in a phone interview. “No problem.” said Cherry. “I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers.”
“I speak the truth and I walk the walk,” Cherry continued. “I have visited the bases of the troops, been to Afghanistan with our brave soldiers at Christmas, been to cemeteries of our fallen around the world and honoured our fallen troops on Coach’s Corner.”
Reaction to the firing has been a mixed bag, with many stating they will cancel their subscriptions to Sportsnet, while others cheered the firing, calling it a step in the right direction.