For almost 35 years, Don Cherry has been capturing Canadians’ attention with his head-strong attitude and conflicting views. Recent controversy finds Cherry ousted from his job at Sportsnet, after a massive outcry on social media.
On November 9. Don Cherry went on a rant criticizing people who come to Canada for not buying a poppy and supporting the troops.
“You people, you 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,” said Cherry on Coach’s Corner.
After the broadcast, Cherry was condemned on social media for what many considered his biggoted remarks. Some were sharing stories of immigrants who served in the Canadian military; the contributions the “you people” Cherry was talking about. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh posted a picture of his great grandfather, telling his story.
“Don, let me introduce you to “#youpeople.” My great grandfather, Hira Singh, who served in WW1 & WW2 under the British. We honour all who served. #RemembranceSunday,” Singh tweeted.
There has also been a wave of support for Cherry saying that his firing was unjust and his words were taken out of context. Hockey legend Bobby Orr came to defend his former coach in an interview with the Toronto Star. He said that Cherry isn’t a bigot or racist and everyone knew he was talking about all people, not just immigrants. He called the firing of such a generous man and Canadian patriot, disgusting.
Cherry has a history of criticizing immigrants. In an interview with CBC in 1990, he said that people in Canada are “ticked off with the immigrants coming to the country and earning all the dough.” He said you can call him a bigot but he calls himself a nationalist and wishes more Canadians were like him. This is in-line with his recent remarks, leaving little room for interpretation.
Although Cherry has doubled down, saying he meant what he said and he won’t back down, co-host of Coach’s Corner Ron MacLean, took to Twitter to apologize for Cherry’s remarks on the show.
In response to this controversy, some are calling for the firing of media another media personality: Jessica Allen of CTV’s The Social.
Following Cherry’s remarks, she made comments on the show firing back at hockey culture. She said that hockey players tend to be white boys who aren’t very nice or thoughtful and are often bullies. Although she put out an apology, many are still calling for her firing.
Some of the families from the Humboldt Broncos bus crash have called out Allen and are refusing to talk with any CTV journalists unless she is fired.
There is no question there are divisions in Canada. When polarizing controversies like these happen, the cracks that the country has come to the fore. We are a country of many cultures and immigrants but most of all, we are human.
As a society, Canada needs to be better at mending these cracks before something breaks and we are unable to put the pieces back together.