Sports ‘An impossible situation’: Ron MacLean’s speech met with mixed reaction online
Don Cherry has to go
For hockey’s culture to better itself, it needs to move on from one of its figureheadsThere’s probably very little that I could write about Don Cherry’s career that you haven’t read before. He’s a fan of “old school”, rough and tumble hockey. He’s unapologetic about his abrasive opinions and his loud suits. He’s an unabashed homer for the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s said some highly controversial things over the years, and your mileage will vary as to how much you love or hate what he has to say. I’m not breaking new ground here, and I’m not particularly interested in re-litigating all of the little battles that have been fought over the years.
(Video by CBC.ca)
For the first time since a controversy embroiled the two men, longtimehost appeared during the first intermission of without co-host .
Instead, MacLean appeared solo on Saturday night, delivering an emotional speech addressing the incident that ultimately led to Cherry's ouster from the program.
“You know the story, that Coach’s Corner is no more,” MacLean said at the beginning of the monologue, calling it the "end of an era."
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.
“We are all hurting. I have collapsed a hundred times this week, if not more,” MacLean said. “We’re all disappointed."
MacLean said there were "steps that needed to be taken because of what had been said by Don" but that Cherry "didn't want to do those steps."
"So he made his choice and I made mine," he said.
In this instance, MacLean said he had to choose principle over friendship.
"I thought a lot about falling on my sword, too, and then I thought, no, but if I do that I infer what happened was right somehow or that I'm going along to get along, or that I'm just going to sit silently by or be a bystander again in a situation and it just took the courage," he said. "Don taught me to stand, so I had to have the courage of my convictions."
On the end of the Ron and Don show, an odd couple and the 'code'
Years ago, at a restaurant near Toronto’s Pearson airport that Don Cherry frequented, because the staff knew him and understood not to make a big fuss, he launched into some war stories from his life on the road with Ron MacLean during the Stanley Cup playoffs. For two months, he said, the two of them would flit from city to city, and from flight to flight. After the first few weeks they would find a rhythm, not for their Coach’s Corner shtick, but in their rituals away from the rink, chief among them being drinking a whack of beers in Cherry’s hotel room after each broadcast while re-watching the game on tape. “He’s the exact opposite of my thinking,” Cherry said of his sidekick.
MacLean ended the speech by saying Cherry is an "incredible person" who he loves "very much" and that the last talk about Coach's Corner would be to honour what Cherry has meant to the game.
The speech has garnered mixed reactions online.
Some say MacLean didn't go far enough in his condemnation of Cherry's remarks, while others commended his integrity.
"@RonMacLeanHTH a shout of support for your monologue last night Ron. I am sure it wasn't easy," one tweet reads. "Your integrity as a person came through in every word."
a shout of support for your monologue last night Ron. I am sure it wasn’t easy. Your integrity as a person came through in every word.
— Domenic Scuglia - (@DomenicScuglia)
"Ron was put in an impossible situation," Twitter user Milo McMahon wrote. "He's being attacked by 50% of the population whatever he says. Last week he outlined why the comments were wrong. This week honoured a broadcasting legend & great friend. @RonMacLeanHTH doing more to bring this country together than anyone."
Ron MacLean addresses viewers in first Hockey Night in Canada without Don Cherry
MacLean issued an apology the day after Cherry’s comments, saying he wished he had handled it differently. I have worked with Don for 30 years, and we both love hockey. But last night, I know we failed you. I see hockey as part of what unites us. I have the honour of travelling across our country to celebrate Canada's game, and our diversity is one of our country's greatest strengths.
Ron was put in an impossible situation. He’s being attacked by 50% of the population whatever he says. Last week he outlined why the comments were wrong, this week honoured a broadcasting legend & great friend.doing more to bring this country together than anyone.
— Milo McMahon (@milomcmahon)
"Ron- Last night's heartfelt explanation of the circumstances surrounding Don's dismissal must have been particularly hard given your long friendship with Don. I for one respect your comments and wish both you and Don the best in your lives ahead," another tweet read.
Some viewers felt as though MacLean was abandoning Cherry, his good friend of several decades.
"Hockey players stick up for their teammates no matter what," Twitter user Mark Churchill wrote. "When @CoachsCornerDC needed @RonMacLeanHTH he turned his back."
Don went down with the ship and true friends stick together. You gave thumbs up and now do a 180? I would have walked with my friend.....
— Noah Bell (@socialuncivil)
"Don went down with the ship and true friends stick together," Twitter user Noah Bell wrote. "You gave thumbs up and now do a 180? I would have walked with my friend."
Jack Todd: Coach's Corner was a two-man farce for three decades
Jack Todd: Coach's Corner was a two-man farce for three decadesIt was always going to end badly.
The comments that led to Cherry's removal aired during the Nov. 9 segment of Coach's Corner.
During the broadcast, Cherry suggested that immigrants don’t wear poppies, implying they don’t support Canada's veterans.
"You people that come here, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that," he said. "These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price."
Cherry's comments were immediately met with criticism online, and, two days later, Sportsnet announced the longtime host would be stepping down from Coach's Corner.
Statement from Sportsnet:
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR)
MacLean, too, came under fire over the segment, with many saying he sat idly by, allowing Cherry to make the comments.
A day later, MacLean issued an apology on Twitter, saying Cherry's words were "hurtful and prejudiced" and that he is "truly upset" with himself for allowing it.
I have worked with Don for 30 years, and we both love hockey. But last night, I know we failed you. I see hockey as part of what unites us. I have the honour of travelling across our country to celebrate Canada's game, and our diversity is one of our country's greatest strengths.
Bettman declines to weigh in on Cherry, says MacLean "spoke from the heart"
TORONTO — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Sportsnet broadcaster Ron MacLean "spoke from the heart" during his monologue on "Hockey Night in Canada" over the weekend. MacLean opened the first intermission segment on Saturday night — the first since Don Cherry was fired last week — by speaking alone on camera for nearly five minutes. Bettman, a panellist at the PrimeTime sports management conference on Monday at a downtown Toronto hotel, saidTORONTO — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Sportsnet broadcaster Ron MacLean "spoke from the heart" during his monologue on "Hockey Night in Canada" over the weekend.
— Ron MacLean (@RonMacLeanHTH)
In an interview with Global News earlier this week, Cherry said he was disappointed by MacLean's apology, but that the two remain friends.
"He buried me. I was very disappointed the way he handled [it]," he said. "I don't want to condemn him but I was very disappointed."
During the interview, Cherry did not apologize for his remarks but said if he could do it again he would choose different words.
In a tweet posted Saturday afternoon, Cherry thanked those who have offered their support over the past week.
Again, I want to thank everyone who has called emailed, dropped by the house this past week. It will take weeks to personally get back to everyone, so I am again, thanking you all now. God Bless you all for your support, Donald S Cherry
— Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerDC)
"It will take weeks to personally get back to everyone, so I am again, thanking you all now," he wrote. "God Bless you all for your support."
Sportsnet communications director Andrew Garas told The Canadian Press the network is now "taking the time to explore new formats for the first intermission."
-With files from Maryam Shah
Ron MacLean says he doesn't believe former co-host Don Cherry is racist .
EDMONTON — Days after addressing Don Cherry's dismissal during a "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcast, sports broadcaster Ron MacLean says he doesn't believe his former co-host is a racist. MacLean, the long-time co-host of "Coach's Corner" with Cherry, is in Edmonton to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University of Alberta. Before receiving the degree, MacLean told reporters it's been a difficult time. Sportsnet fired Cherry onMacLean, the long-time co-host of "Coach's Corner" with Cherry, is in Edmonton to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University of Alberta.
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