"He is a bigot": Former Sportsnet host Tara Slone weighs in on Don Cherry

Oct 17 2022, 7:29 pm

Don Cherry was trending on Twitter again on Sunday.

It wasn’t for something he said or did — not recently anyway. Cherry’s name was brought up, as it often is on the social media platform by those that share his political beliefs, to make a point.

So Tara Slone, a former colleague of Cherry’s at Sportsnet, who left the network in July, decided to weigh in.

Slone said that she likes Cherry as a person, but added that he is a bigot that shouldn’t be given a national platform. And certainly, he shouldn’t be looked at as a hockey or political leader.

“I see Don Cherry is trending yet again. I have never weighed in, but I want to now,” said the former Hometown Hockey co-host.

“I like(d) Don as a person because, like many of us, he wasn’t just one thing. But I loathed his perspective, more and more as the years went by.

“He sort of tolerated Hometown Hockey but was jealous of Ron’s other job/co-host. He thought we were soft and woke and focused on too much outside of hockey. HTH wasn’t for everyone, so that didn’t bother me.”

Slone co-hosted Hometown Hockey with Ron MacLean for over seven years, until the show was cancelled this summer.

“He had some good points, probably, once upon a time. He has tons of charisma, which is why he stayed on air for so long. But this incessant and nostalgic elevating of Don as some figure who we should look to as a hockey and political leader? Come ON.

“I like him, I really do. I hope he is healthy and doing well. But he is a bigot and had no place on national television with a national platform. It wasn’t the poppy incident, it was everything he proclaimed over three decades. Come. On. Stop with the deification.”


It’s been nearly three years since Cherry, now 88 years old, was fired from his job with Hockey Night in Canada, after he refused to apologize for what Sportsnet’s president called “divisive remarks.”

Cherry appeared to point the finger squarely at immigrants for not wearing poppies.

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

That was far from Cherry’s first on-air transgression. For decades, Cherry got away with saying things that seemingly nobody else on television could.

Rather than firing Cherry in 2004 for what the CBC called “inappropriate and reprehensible personal comments,” the network put him on a seven-second delay. Cherry had said that most of the players that wear visors were “Europeans or French guys,” implying that they weren’t as tough as anglophone Canadians and American players.

Cherry, who now has a podcast, has largely stayed out of the limelight in recent years.

In May, he indicated his relationship with MacLean, his longtime Coach’s Corner co-host, and friend is forever fractured.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be friends again,” Cherry said, fighting back tears in a video posted to social media by Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun. “You can’t be friends after that. You just can’t… It’s too bad… we used to have fun. It was fun. Coaches Corner was fun.”

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