Sports Bettman declines to weigh in on Cherry, says MacLean "spoke from the heart"
Cherry Bomb: Sportsnet cuts ties with Cherry in aftermath of poppy controversy
TORONTO — Brash, outspoken, opinionated — longtime hockey broadcaster Don Cherry was never afraid to ruffle feathers during his "Coach's Corner" segment on "Hockey Night in Canada." His latest outburst cost him his job. In a two-paragraph statement Monday afternoon, Sportsnet confirmed that it was cutting ties with Cherry. His latest outburst cost him his job.
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, said MacLean "obviously made his feelings clear."
Don Cherry defends Hockey Night in Canada comments but says he would have ‘used different words’
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. “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.
Bettman declined to weigh in on Cherry's departure.
"I believe the CBC has had a number of statements, we've had a number of statements, Don has spoken and I'm not going to start another news cycle," he said.
HNIC was a longtime CBC Saturday night staple, but the show and its games moved to Sportsnet in 2014 after Rogers agreed to a lucrative, long-term rights deal with the NHL.
"Coach's Corner'' and HNIC are still broadcast on CBC in a sub-licensing deal with Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet.
Cherry used the phrase, "You people," during the "Coach's Corner'' segment on Nov. 9 but later denied that he was singling out visible minorities.
MacLean, who apologized the day after, talked at length about his close relationship with Cherry during his monologue but said he had to choose "principle over friendship," adding "Coach's Corner is no more."
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.
Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley was originally scheduled to be a panellist on a sports media roundtable at the conference Monday morning.
He was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, a spokesperson said.
Cherry's firing and its ramifications have dominated the Canadian news cycle since his departure was announced Nov. 11.
The 85-year-old native of Kingston, Ont., joined HNIC in 1980 as a playoff analyst and was so popular that he was kept on as a colour commentator. CBC later created "Coach's Corner'' as a vehicle to showcase Cherry, with MacLean eventually replacing Dave Hodge as co-host.
Sportsnet is exploring new format options for the first intermission, a spokesperson said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2019.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
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.