Don Cherry, longtime co-host of Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada, has been fired following a xenophobic rant he made on Saturday night.
In a statement, Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley said the decision to let go of Cherry came after discussions following remarks in which he scolded immigrants who don't wear poppies.
"Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night's broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for." Somewhat counter-intuitively, the statement went on to thank Cherry for his "integral role" in growing hockey.
Cherry, 85, is on the receiving end of an overwhelming amount of criticism following his remarks Saturday, which took aim at immigrants who don’t wear poppies for Remembrance Day.
“Downtown Toronto, forget it, downtown Toronto, nobody wears a poppy,” Cherry said.“You people love, you that come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada."
Although Sportsnet, the NHL, and Cherry’s co-host Ron MacLean all condemned the comments, Cherry has not apologized.
He told the Toronto Sun, “I said my piece and I will leave it there.” After he was fired, he told the Sun, he won't be turned into a "tamed robot."
"The problem is if I have to watch everything I say, it isn’t Coach’s Corner," he said, noting that he meant what he said.
The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council said it's maxed out on complaints about Cherry's remarks.
His tirade is just the latest in a long line of offensive comments he’s made in his three decades as a hockey commentator. Over the years, he’s taken aim at women, progressives, French Canadians, and others.
Cherry has also long been a major backer of the military, making his firing on Remembrance Day somewhat poetic.
More to come.