UPDATE, Nov. 11, 2019: Sportsnet has fired Don Cherry. More details here.
Don Cherry is known for his loud suits and even louder mouth. A few days before Remembrance Day, the 85-year-old hockey commentator ranted during Coach’s Corner that “you people”—referring to immigrants in Canada— who “love our way of life” should at least pay to purchase a poppy “or something like that.”
His comments were widely denounced. Sportsnet, the NHL and Cherry’s co-host Ron MacLean apologized for his remarks, while Cherry himself has not.
Justin Trudeau didn’t issue a statement in response but his account did retweet his defence minister Harjit Sajjan on the topic. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer hasn’t publicly responded to the controversy. See the clip below as well as the apologies from Sportsnet, NHL and MacLean. We’ve compiled a collection of responses from Canadians to Cherry’s remarks.
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
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
Statement from Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/QZ76r9Y7sb
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 10, 2019
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, let me introduce you to “#youpeople”
My great grandfather, Hira Singh, who served in WW1 & WW2 under the British.
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) November 10, 2019
Last night, Don Cherry made comments that are wrong in describing Canadians' remembrance of our veterans. His remarks don't recognize the contribution of Canada's diverse communities. I hope we can turn this into a moment where we can learn about about all who have served. 1/7
— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) November 11, 2019
Seven decades later, I am able to take my seat in the House of Commons and serve my country. Mr. Cherry: my grandfather's story is not unique. I trust you are a big enough man to apologize for your comments.
— Greg Fergus (@GregFergus) November 10, 2019
On Remembrance Day I will wear a poppy on our Raptors-Clippers broadcast from LA. It is a symbolic reminder we ALL need of sacrifices made by many so we ALL can live in a place ALL are valued. As a colleague & Canadian, there is no such thing as 'you people.' There is only 'us'. https://t.co/VG0mvXStNn
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) November 10, 2019
Don Cherry, I proudly wear my poppy to honour the sacrifice of our soldiers. Their sacrifice meant that all Canadians, including Canadians like me who came to our country with very little, have the opportunity to succeed. Dividing Canadians like you did moves us all backwards.
— Amarjeet Sohi (@SohiAmarjeet) November 10, 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
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. His comments are unfair and just plain wrong.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) November 10, 2019
It is time for Don Cherry to be fired.
His comments crossed the line big time but he’s not relevant anymore either.
I was at a birthday party with my kid’s hockey team a couple years ago and there was a Don Cherry impersonator there. None of the kids knew who he was.
— Wab Kinew (@WabKinew) November 11, 2019
Canadian soldiers of South East Asia Command in WWII.
Canadian soldiers of No. 2 Construction Battalion in WWI.
Private Buckam Singh was born in India, came to Canada in 1907, and enlisted in the CEF in 1915. He was treated at LCol John McCrae's hospital.#LestWeForget
— Canadian Forces in 🇺🇸 (@CAFinUS) November 11, 2019