- Sportsnet has fired Don Cherry in response to public outcry over xenophobic comments.
- The news has left many French Canadians wondering what took so long.
Hockey Night in Canada will never be the same after longtime co-host Don Cherry was fired for making xenophobic comments against immigrants who don't wear poppies. On his latest broadcast this weekend, Cherry ranted about "you people" who don't wear poppies for Remembrance Day.
After an outcry from the public, including public apologies from fellow co-host Ron Maclean and Roger's Sportsnet, Cherry was dismissed from a position he's held for over 30 hockey seasons. Cherry is known for his unapologetic and often divisive style on Hockey Night in Canada. For years, he's been highly critical of players he doesn't consider to be "good Canadian boys."
In the early-90s, Cherry sparked anger amongst Quebec politicians after he made derogatory comments about Québécois players and the Quebec Nordiques hockey team. He's also made countless off-colour remarks about players of European origin.
Cherry's dismissal has prompted many reactions from Quebecers who are wondering why it took so long for Hockey Night in Canada to fire him. For years, some claim, Cherry has been deriding Québécois players and the Montreal Canadiens without repercussion. In 2010, he infamously said that P.K. Subban "lacks respect" and that a player needs to "get him" for opening his "big mouth."
There have been numerous other instances where Cherry has gone on racially-charged rants that have little to do with hockey.
In 2007, he suggested that Indigenous Canadians should "go out and get their own fair shake in life" after his co-host Maclean said that Native players have to work a lot harder than most to get recognized.
This isn't the first time Cherry has gotten into hot water over comments he's made. Though, in the past, there weren't even public apologies from the network.
Many who support what Cherry had to say about immigrants cite that the "left-wing media" is responsible for taking down another "Canadian icon." In fact, Cherry once blamed the "left-wing pinko media" for the decrease in fighting in the NHL.
Some are wondering how it took so long for Hockey Night in Canada to realize that Cherry doesn't represent their values anymore. It's perhaps French Canadians who are most confused about what took so long for network executives to fire Cherry.
Cherry was the coach of the Boston Bruins in the 1970s and constantly lost to the Canadiens in the playoffs and Stanley Cup games so some blame those years as the reason he's so contemptuous of French Canadians. That's no excuse for years of abuse, however.
Translation: Don Cherry fired. Years of contempt and racism towards Quebec: nothing. One comment about how immigrants don't buy poppies: FIRED! Oh well.
Many are saying that this the first step to tackle a systemic problem in hockey culture. Cherry has perpetuated this for years, and it seems like it finally caught up to him.
Despite a slew of public apologies, the NHL and hockey culture in general still have a long way to go to promote inclusion and diversity.