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Sports Don Cherry defends Hockey Night in Canada comments but says he would have ‘used different words’

02:05  13 november  2019
02:05  13 november  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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Don Cherry has been featured on ‘ Hockey Night in Canada ’ for decades. Canadian sports cable network Sportsnet, which produces the iconic “ Hockey Night in Canada ” Mr. Cherry ’s comments also drew widespread pushback in Canada , including from Canada ’s Defense Minister, Harjit Sajjan.

Don Cherry , the colorfully dressed fixture of “ Hockey Night in Canada ” broadcasts, was fired on Monday after on-air comments that were widely viewed as a racist attack on the patriotism of immigrants.

Don Cherry wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: In this March 24, 2010, file photo, hockey personality Don Cherry, right, speaks during a news conference as actor Jared Keeso is displayed on a video screen while playing Cherry in the bio film © AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese, File In this March 24, 2010, file photo, hockey personality Don Cherry, right, speaks during a news conference as actor Jared Keeso is displayed on a video screen while playing Cherry in the bio film "Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story" in Toronto.

Don Cherry says he won’t apologize for his divisive comments about new immigrants not wearing poppies, but the former co-host of “Coach’s Corner” says if he could do it again, he would have chosen different words.

“I think the closest I’ll come to apologizing is I wish I had used different words,” Cherry told Global News.

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Image caption Don Cherry is a retired professional player who now works as an ice hockey pundit. Controversial comments on new immigrants He has built his celebrity through his appearance on Coach's Corner, a segment of Hockey Night in Canada - a television staple in the country since 1952.

During his Hockey Night appearance over the weekend, Cherry noted how he was not seeing certain people in Canada wearing the customary remembrance “ 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

“I should have said everybody. If I had to do it over again, I would have said everybody.”

Cherry, 85, was fired from the Hockey Night in Canada segment by Sportsnet Monday, following televised comments Saturday night in which he singled out “you people that come here” in Toronto and Mississauga, where he lives, for not wearing poppies, implying they don’t support Canada’s soldiers.

“You people that come here… whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy,” he said on Saturday.

WATCH: Here’s what you need to know about Don Cherry

In an interview with Global News, Cherry refused to back down from his comments and said that everyone should wear a poppy to honour Canada’s fallen soldiers.

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Hockey Night in Canada (often abbreviated Hockey Night or HNIC) is a branding used for Canadian television presentations of the National Hockey League.

Don Cherry , a commentator on Hockey Night in Canada , used his Coach’s Corner ( he last coached in 1980) But he ’s an institution in Canada and his words have meaning. When he defines native Statement from the National Hockey League regarding Don Cherry ’s comments Saturday night

“I do believe to this day that everybody in Canada should have a poppy on, out of honour and respect of the fallen soldiers that have fallen in the Second World War, Korea and the whole deal," Cherry said.

"Those people who gave their lives, at least we can buy a poppy.”

Pressed on whether his comments were racist, Cherry said his comments weren’t directed at minorities, and that what he said applies to anyone.

“It could have been Irish, it could have been Scottish, it could have been anybody,” he said, adding that the “silent majority” supported him.

“It was picked up the way it was picked up.”

Cherry said he was planning to apologize on this week’s upcoming Hockey Night in Canada, but was never given the chance.

“I was ready to apologize," Cherry said. "I was gonna put out a tweet, or whatever they do, saying I was wrong and I think it could have smoothed over pretty good. But that's the way they wanted it and that's the way it goes.”

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Don Cherry , Canada ’s most polarizing, flamboyant and opinionated hockey commentator, has been fired Cherry has provided commentary following the first intermission of “ Hockey Night in Canada ” for The National Hockey League said in a statement that Cherry ’s remarks were “offensive and

Hockey pundit Don Cherry fired by Sportsnet over xenophobic poppy rant – video. Don Cherry might not be out of work for long. “I know what I said and I meant it,” Cherry told the Toronto Sun on Monday after he was let go. “Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honor our fallen soldiers.”

Global News has contacted Sportsnet about whether Cherry would have apologized, but they said they had nothing further to add.

READ MORE: Hockey players weigh in on Don Cherry’s comments, firing: ‘Disappointing on many fronts’

Cherry, a former player and NHL coach, had worked as a broadcaster for more than 37 years on Hockey Night in Canada, drawing attention for a number of controversial statements including calling progressives “left-wing pinkos,” describing Quebecers as “whiners,” and making derogatory comments about European hockey players.

Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley said in a statement Monday that it was “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,” Yabsley said.

Coach's Corner co-host Ron MacLean also apologized Sunday for Cherry’s remarks. During Cherry's rant, MacLean could be seen nodding and giving a thumbs-up.

MacLean issued a televised apology that Cherry’s remarks were “hurtful, discriminatory” and that he wished he had responded differently on air.

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  Cherry disappointed with MacLean's apology: 'He buried me' Don Cherry isn't happy with former Hockey Night in Canada partner Ron MacLean. MacLean publicly apologized Sunday for Cherry's offensive comments from the night prior. Cherry, who was fired by Sportsnet on Monday, said MacLean "buried" him with his response. "Very disappointing," Cherry told Global News on Tuesday. "We're still friends, but I was very disappointed in the way he handled it. I don't want to go and condemn him or anything like that, but I was very disappointed."#DonCherry on Ron MacLean's apology: “He buried me. I was very disappointed the way he handled [it],” Cherry said.

He used the word after saying immigrants don ’t buy poppies. Then went on to say that these same people live off “ Don ’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a Don Cherry has been a part of Hockey Night in Canada since 1981.

Sportsnet says Don Cherry will be immediately stepping down from Hockey Night in Canada after comments he made on Saturday night ’s Coach’s Corner about newcomers to Canada not wearing poppies sparked huge backlash.

“Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory, which were flat out wrong,” MacLean said. “I owe you an apology, too. I sat there, did not catch it, did not respond.

“Last night was a really great lesson to Don and me. We were wrong, and I sincerely apologize. I wanted to thank you for calling me and Don on that last night.”

Cherry told Global News that he was “disappointed” in his co-host Ron MacLean, but that the two were still friends.

“He buried me. I was very disappointed the way he handled [it],” Cherry said. “I don’t want to condemn him but I was very disappointed.”

READ MORE: Don Cherry firing doesn’t solve problem his poppy comments highlighted, WWI historian says

Cherry’s remarks were roundly criticized by politicians across Canada including Toronto Mayor John Tory and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. The National Hockey League also weighed in, saying the comments “made last night were offensive and contrary to the values we believe in.”

Steven Purewal, a historian on the contribution of Indian soldiers during the First World War, told Global News on Monday it was wrong for Cherry to suggest immigrants don’t support Canadian veterans, noting the broadcaster has no way of knowing who’s an immigrant and who was born in Canada.

“It endorses a stereotype that the immigrant is somehow unpatriotic, is thankless about the sacrifices it took to build the country,” he said.

“What we need to be telling Canadians is that many, many diverse communities fought in the Great War and the Second World War. Without their contributions, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have today.”

Meanwhile, some have been calling for the hockey host’s return. A Change.org petition called ‘Bring Back Don Cherry!’ has amassed over 108,000 signatures.

As for the long-time hockey pundit, Cherry said he is still processing being fired.

“I don't think it's hit yet,” he said. “It will be a little different Saturday when I sit down and watch where I was for 38 years.”

“I have no idea and I don't think Ron Maclean has any idea what they're going to run after the first period… It'll be watched that's for sure because everybody will want to see what goes on at the end of the first period.”

— With a file from Sean Boyton

CTV, Jessica Allen apologize for her hockey remarks after Don Cherry's firing .
CTV says it is apologizing to anyone who was offended by comments made by a correspondent on its show The Social following the firing of hockey commentator Don Cherry. During the program on Tuesday, Jessica Allen said she doesn't "worship at the altar of hockey'' and found in her experience that those who did "all tended to be white boys who weren't, let's say, very nice.

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