Don Cherry launches new podcast explaining his side of the story

Nov 19 2019, 1:42 pm

Don Cherry unveiled a new podcast today.

Fired by Sportsnet eight days ago, Cherry’s son Tim co-hosted “Don Cherry’s Grapevine,” with a link to the first episode tweeted out by the controversial Canadian icon.

The inaugural podcast lasted nearly 27 minutes, with most of the first six minutes spent on Cherry’s version of what happened.

“Well, we heard [Ron MacLean’s] version,” Cherry quipped. “He’s still a friend, I’m a little disappointed, but I won’t go any further than that.”

Cherry explained that he was offered the opportunity to keep his job on Hockey Night in Canada if he was willing to apologize — with conditions set by Sportsnet.

The 85-year-old said he wanted to explain to “smooth it over,” but he wasn’t willing to apologize. He could have kept his job had he been willing to apologize with the conditions set by Sportsnet — as MacLean did on Hometown Hockey last week.

Cherry refused.

“Evidently, I said something, everybody knows what I said,” Cherry said. “I offered to explain — not an apology, but I was going to smooth it over. They (Sportsnet) made conditions that made it impossible for me to do it. I just couldn’t do it.

“You bite the bullet. I don’t know what else to say. I said what I said. And I still say everybody in Canada should wear a poppy. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, young men died over there for our way of life.

“We have the best country in the world and I still believe everybody should wear a poppy. Evidently I said something that upset Sportsnet and they canned me. I’m not unemployed except for doing this beautiful podcast!”

The issue, of course, was not that Cherry wants everyone in Canada to wear a poppy — he’s been saying that without controversy for decades. The problem was that Cherry targeted immigrants in particular during his rant, perpetuating a negative stereotype about them.

“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,” Cherry said during his final Coach’s Corner broadcast. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

Cherry didn’t apologize for those words in the podcast, instead he downplayed them.

“Just two little words seemed to set everybody off. But hey, that’s the way life is. I lived in a vicious world and I lasted 38 years. Happy to be there for 38 years. If I’ve got to go, I’m glad I’m going out on my shield.”

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