The Canadian sports broadcast network Sportsnet has fired color commentator Don Cherry two days after he made discriminatory comments criticizing what he saw as immigrants’ unwillingness to honor Canadian veterans.
“Sports brings people together — it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” a statement from Sportsnet public relations said. “During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.”
Cherry, 85, spoke on a national telecast Saturday night about his belief that immigrants to Canada choose not to follow the national tradition of wearing poppies for Remembrance Day, Canada’s version of Veterans Day.
“You people that come here, whatever it is, 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,” Cherry said.
“These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
His comments were widely taken to be disparaging, with the implication that immigrants are freeloaders. The NHL released a statement calling Cherry’s remarks “offensive and contrary to the values that we believe in.”
Cherry is perhaps the most recognized hockey commentator in Canada and has worked on “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts since 1981. He coached the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Rockies in the 1970s.
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