The hockey world was stunned on Monday afternoon when the news broke that Sportsnet had fired Don Cherry after nearly 40 years on Hockey Night in Canada.
The firing came less than 48 hours after the 85-year-old made xenophobic remarks about immigrants not buying poppies for Remembrance Day. While the network and Ron MacLean have both apologized for the incident, Cherry refused.
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Cherry’s tenure has been a controversial one – especially in recent years – but there’s no question he’s had a strong influence in the hockey community throughout his time covering the sport.
Here’s how fans and media reacted on Twitter:
Don Cherry has long insisted on framing hockey in us (English-speaking Canadians) and them (Europeans, francophones and now, explicitly, recent immigrants – "you people") terms.
Leaving all else aside, that's not a message a national broadcaster can afford to send.
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) November 11, 2019
Don Cherry could probably transition into some really informative brain injury awareness videos#RockEmSockEm
— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) November 11, 2019
— Ed the Sock (@EdtheSock) November 11, 2019
Don Cherry’s legacy to me is decades of xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and closing off hockey to anyone who didn’t look/think like him. I’ll never forget him effectively killing my dream of being in sports media by going off about female reporters. So good riddance you old hag
— liz (@emalcolm_) November 11, 2019
My favourite Don Cherry moment is his first 3 years of owning the Mississauga Ice Dogs when he refused to have Europeans on his team.
They won 16 of 204 games. pic.twitter.com/a2m3cD6wVF
— John Malloy (@JMall95) November 11, 2019
Bunch of Jerks
– Don Cherry, 2018.
— Big Heat (@DanyAllstar15) November 11, 2019
Here is Don Cherry giving up his Christmas to visit and cheer up Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
He was fired today (Remembrance Day) by ROGERS sportsnet at 85 years old, following an inarticulate rant about how everyone should wear a poppy.
Let that sink in. pic.twitter.com/ihsgpplzi4
— Aaron Gunn (@AaronGunn) November 11, 2019
Where were all of you that are outraged Don Cherry was fired on Remembrance Day when I was fired from my first real job on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, huh?
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) November 11, 2019
Cherry’s dismissal leaves questions surrounding who will replace the Coach’s Corner host, or whether the segment will even continue to run.
Yes, Brian Burke appears to be the obvious heir apparent to Don Cherry but before we make any rash decisions consider the following:
Coach’s Corner with Darryl Sutter
— Sammy Hudes (@SammyHudes) November 11, 2019
Hear me out:
Coach’s corner, but with Mike Babcock. Kill two birds with one stone.
— Adam Laskaris (@adam_la2karis) November 11, 2019
Lots of talk about who should replace Cherry on Coach's Corner, but I don't think you can. I bet HNIC goes in a completely different direction.
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) November 11, 2019
Hockey and Don Cherry was a thing for me since I was 9 years old. When the bell would ring on Friday afternoon to mark the end of the school week, for me HNIC Saturday would be one of the things I would look forward to, and Coaches Corner. It sucks that Don had to leave this way
— Ricky (@Van_city_Nucks) November 11, 2019
Fabricland files for bankruptcy after biggest customer fired from Coach's Corner pic.twitter.com/sBvsb5qgJU
— The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) November 11, 2019
Don Cherry getting fired on this day is important. So many lost their lives, never had the chance to fully live, love and enjoy the freedoms they fought for. Let this day and incident, be a reminder to love, not hate and live together peacefully. Not divide people. #LestWeُForget
— sarbjit kaur (@sarbjitkaur1) November 11, 2019
The thing about people complaining that Don Cherry shouldn’t be fired for this one specific incident seem to be forgetting he’s also been awful at his job for the last two decades
— John Cullen (@cullenthecomic) November 12, 2019
— Harrison Browne (@Hbrowne24) November 11, 2019
Good call! Long overdue. Thank you!
— Charles Gauthier (@DowntownCharles) November 11, 2019
— Gnameless 🇨🇦 (@garden_nome1) November 11, 2019
#IStandWithDonCherry I will never watch Sportsnet again.
— Peter Wall (@pwall47) November 11, 2019
Thank you for doing the right thing.
— jess fedigan (@jj_fedigan) November 11, 2019
Can’t wait to get home and cancel my sportsnet channels.
— EDDIE (@Eddie_Paul85) November 11, 2019
Show me one person who is mad at this firing who isnt old, white, or both.
If you dont see why his comments were wrong, you live life in a comfortable bubble. Have some empathy.
He could have called out all Canadians, but he only saw it as a problem with immigrants.
— Mike Carter (@MikeDethrone) November 11, 2019
— sam (@flyer4life) November 11, 2019
The amount that Don did for grassroots hockey, and what he did for veterans across the country is going to be completely overshadowed by this. I have seen ample Coach's Corner's over the years, enough to see him praise people from every walk of life. I'm sad about this.
— Sabastian Robinson (@sabrobinson999) November 11, 2019
Ok, I’ve read a lot of the Don Cherry stuff, and there’s one thing people are missing. It is that for many people of colour, feeling fully Canadian can sometimes be an elusive goal. Hockey is one of the best gateways to reach that goal. Here is why what Cherry said is hurtful.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) November 11, 2019
But all it takes is “you people” for those incremental gains to be wiped away, completely overwhelmed and erased by two small words that mean so much, that are so malicious. Two words on our “national” hockey broadcast, and you’re right back at zero.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) November 11, 2019