Don Cherry has crossed the line for the last time.
On Monday, the 85-year-old and long-time commentator was let go from Hockey Night in Canada.
Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley made the announcement, two days after Cherry made disparaging remarks about immigrants during a broadcast.
“Sports brings people together — it unites us, not divides us,” Yabsley said in a media release. “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.”
The announcement follows Cherry’s on-air rant about immigrants during his “Coach’s Corner” segment over the weekend.
This time, ahead of Remembrance Day, he referred to new immigrants as “you people” and said those who don’t wear poppies aren’t supporting veterans and are ungrateful.
His comments sparked a swift backlash from the public, politicians, and the NHL.
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During Saturday evening’s Coach’s Corner segment, Cherry, who has been hosting the program since 1982, said the following:
“You people … 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,” said while his co-host Ron MacLean looked on.
“These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
Don Cherry’s rant on immigrants:
“You people… love our way of life, love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.”
Ron MacLean nodded and gave a thumbs up. pic.twitter.com/OXnIwV1n9T
— Rosa Hwang (@journorosa) November 10, 2019
On Monday, following Cherry’s offside comments, the Canada Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) said it received a “large number” of similar complaints and that its system is no longer able to accept any more.
“The CBSC has received a large number of very similar complaints concerns Coach’s Corner broadcast on CBC (Sportsnet) on November 9, 2019, exceeding the CBSC’s technical processing capacities,” said CBSC in a statement.
“Accordingly, while the CBSC will be dealing with this broadcast under its normal process, it is not able to accept any further complaints.
The comments have since brought forward apologies from Sportsnet, which airs Coach’s Corner, Cherry’s co-host MacLean, the NHL, and Canadian politicians.
MacLean apologized for Cherry’s “hurtful” and “prejudiced” comments and said he wished he handled himself differently.
“It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it,” said MacLean in a statement.
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 MacLean (@RonMacLeanHTH) November 10, 2019
Hockey Night in Canada studio host David Amber said this week has allowed him to reflect on how he views Canada.
Some thoughts to share pic.twitter.com/5egRGYvp9v
— David Amber (@DavidAmber) November 11, 2019
The NHL said in a statement that Cherry’s remarks were “offensive and contrary to the values we believe in.”
Statement from the National Hockey League regarding Don Cherry’s comments Saturday night: pic.twitter.com/zt57sLy5Fa
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 10, 2019
“Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network,” said Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley in a statement on Sunday.
“We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”
Statement from Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/QZ76r9Y7sb
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 10, 2019
Burnaby South MP and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted a powerful response to Cherry’s comments on Sunday.
“All sorts of people have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of Canada. Women, immigrants, LGBTQ2S Cdns, Indigenous people. There is no “#youpeople.” We’re all as Canadian as the next. We honour all who served. That’s what Canada is all about.”
All sorts of people have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of Canada.
Women, immigrants, LGBTQ2S Cdns, Indigenous people.
There is no “#youpeople”. We’re all as Canadian as the next. We honour all who served.
That’s what Canada is all about. #RemembranceSunday
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) November 10, 2019
The mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, called his comments “despicable.”
“We’re proud of diverse cultural heritage and we’ll always stand up for it,” she said on Twitter. “New immigrants enrich our country for the better. We’re all Canadians and wear our poppies proudly.”
For @CoachsCornerDC to say that “you people” do not respect 🇨🇦 or our veterans is despicable. We’re proud of diverse cultural heritage and we‘ll always stand up for it. New immigrants enrich our country for the better. We’re all Canadians and wear our poppies proudly.
— Bonnie Crombie 🇨🇦 (@BonnieCrombie) November 10, 2019
Toronto Mayor John Tory invited Cherry to come to Old City Hall on Remembrance Day to “see thousands of Canadians of all ages, nationalities, faiths, and backgrounds” honour Canada’s veterans.
“Don Cherry is way off base to question the devotion of newer Canadians to the very same veterans and the sacrifices we will honour tomorrow on Remembrance Day,” Tory said in a statement.
“His comments are unfair and just plain wrong.”
Mr. Cherry should come to Old City Hall tomorrow where he would see thousands of Canadians of all ages, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds honouring our veterans and demonstrating their love for Canada and our precious way of life, as they do every year.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) November 10, 2019