Ron MacLean was on Sportsnet after the first intermission during Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday without Don Cherry, and people were not pleased.
A somber MacLean tried to explain why Cherry, 85, was fired by the network for his contentious comments he made a week prior.
“There were steps that needed to be taken after what he said, and he didn’t want to take those steps,” said MacLean between the first and second period of NHL games Saturday night.
Many hockey fans were displeased and angry with MacLean this week because of the apology he gave last Sunday after Twitter exploded with people upset with Cherry’s comments about how not enough immigrants are wearing poppies for Remembrance Day. Many people on social media claimed what Cherry said was racist and xenophobic. Many fans of Coach’s Corner felt that MacLean had betrayed his co-host and friend of over 30 years.
“I Sat all week long reflecting, listening to you, and I have heard you. I mean you the viewer. I’ve reflected by listening to my own heart. I’ve struggled mightily to find the words, and I’m not sure I even have them now. But they say it’s a good thing because when you can find the words it’s dead in your heart. And it’s not dead in my heart,” said MacLean in the intermission which some commented on seemed like eulogy at a funeral.
“By the way, Don Cherry. We have communicated. We talked a lot on Monday, by phone. I was there in person, and then by phone. He sent me a note yesterday–I phoned you by the way, Don, at 9:30 when we normally talk and you didn’t [answer], I don’t know if you’re at the cottage or just couldn’t.”
Cherry’s comments that caused a firestorm and ultimately led to Cherry being fired from Coach’s Corner after hosting it for over 30 years were as follows: “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.”
The response to MacLean’s monologue were swift and heated from hockey fans online:
“We are all hurting. Bobby Orr is disappointed in me. I’m disappointed in me,” MacLean also said in his monologue. He also explained that he had to choose principle over friendship in making his decision to apologize on behalf of Don, but that he also loves Cherry and its the end of an era.