Canadian television icon Don Cherry is once again at the center of controversy.
Cherry is receiving heavy criticism for a rant about immigrants in Canada on Saturday night’s Coaches Corner segment.
Cherry took to his weekly intermission segment with Ron MacLean to complain about immigrants living in Toronto not wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day.
Cherry made the comment before his yearly Remembrance Day video montage aired.
“I live in Mississauga. Very few people wear the poppy. Downtown Toronto, forget it. Nobody wears the poppy. Now you go to the small cities. You people . . . that come here, whatever it is — you love our way of life. You love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys pay for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada. These guys paid the biggest price for that.”
Here’s video of the Cherry rant.
Sportsnet issued a statement about Cherry’s comments on Sunday morning.
Statement from Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/QZ76r9Y7sb
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 10, 2019
Shortly after Sportsnet issued a statement, the NHL came out with a statement of their own.
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
While the network and league have made their position on Cherry’s comments known, the damage has already been done.
Social media has been in uproar since the comments aired. “#FireCherry” and “#YouPeople” started trending on Twitter Saturday night and were still trending topics by Sunday afternoon.
Politicians, reporters and prominent Canadian personalities have been calling for Rogers and Sportsnet to remove Don Cherry from his position.
Toronto Mayor John Tory and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie are among those who have voiced their displeasure with Cherry’s comments.
Bonnie Crombie called the comments “despicable” and stated that “New immigrants enrich our country for the better. We’re all Canadians and wear our poppies proudly.”
For @CoachsCornerDC to say that “you people” do not respect 🇨🇦 or our veterans is despicable. We’re proud of diverse cultural heritage and we‘ll always stand up for it. New immigrants enrich our country for the better. We’re all Canadians and wear our poppies proudly.
— Bonnie Crombie 🇨🇦 (@BonnieCrombie) November 10, 2019
John Tory called the comments “plain wrong”.
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
Many prominent journalists took to Twitter to call for Don Cherry to be fired.
The Don Cherry thing was despicable and he should be fired — he should have been gone long before — but Ron McLean's lame and POS "thumbs up" is equally disgusting and he's got to be held accountable, too
— Doug Smith: Raptors (@SmithRaps) November 10, 2019
Sometimes it's just embarrassing that Don Cherry still has a national platform. https://t.co/YfhgxUEsOe
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) November 10, 2019
Don Cherry should not be on Hockey Night in Canada next week. There needs to be some penalty for his hateful words. After that, that's up to Rogers and Jordan Banks.
— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) November 10, 2019
Immigrants to Canada are also speaking up to show their support for the veterans and how they feel about what Cherry said.
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
Hey #DonCherry, read and reflect. I am one of ‘those people’ who are grandchildren of those who actually fought in Flanders. I don’t need to show my poppy to you nor need a certificate of patriotism on #RemembranceDay2019 from you. @CoachsCornerDC https://t.co/zt5BBvsiPy
— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) November 10, 2019
Perhaps @CoachsCornerDC needs to learn some history. I am wearing my poppy today. And there were SIKHS and many others who lived in Canada, had no rights, and still went to fight. This is not ok. Perhaps he should pay a visit to Kitchener and pay respects to Pvt. Bukham Singh https://t.co/iy5txTcxEI
— Bhupinder S. Hundal (@BhupinderHundal) November 10, 2019
Other public figures have spoken up about how they feel about Don Cherry.
It’s time for Don Cherry to stop lecturing and start learning about the diverse and compassionate country we live in together. We are deeply grateful to our Veterans and welcome new Canadians with support and respect.
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) November 10, 2019
Don Cherry, not satisfied with simply being an embarrassment to hockey, has decided to double-down on being an embarrassment to our country.
— Alheli Picazo (@a_picazo) November 10, 2019
The national broadcaster exists to foster unity & should stop giving Don Cherry a platform to divide people. If the @CBC won't end the relationship, it's simply trading values for dollars.
— Bruce Anderson (@bruceanderson) November 10, 2019
Don Cherry has yet to reply to the criticism. The 85-year-old has been doing Coaches Corner for almost four decades.