Don Cherry has been fired from Sportsnet

Don Cherry’s time on Canadian broadcast airwaves has come to an end.

News broke Monday afternoon that Don Cherry has been fired from Sportsnet following controversial remarks he made on Coach’s Corner Saturday evening.

Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley released the following statement on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

“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.”

“Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years. We would like to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada.”

The firing stems from controversial comments Don Cherry made on his weekly Coach Corner segment with Ron MacLean on Saturday evening. Cherry went on an a rant about immigrants in Toronto not buying/wearing poppies to honour soldiers who fought in the war.

Here’s a transcript of the comments Don Cherry made that led to him being fired.

“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.”

Sportsnet, the NHL and Hockey Canada came out with statements on Sunday stating that they don’t support what Cherry said. His co-anchor Ron MacLean issued a formal apology on Twitter on Sunday.

MacLean also devoted the opening minute of Rogers’s Hometown Hockey broadcast on Sunday to addressing Cherry’s remarks and apologizing.

It appears further discussions between Sportsnet and Cherry following Saturday’s broadcast led the television network to make the decision to fire him.

Cherry discussed being fired with the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington on Monday. 

“I have just learned I’ve been fired by Sportsnet for comments made on Coach’s Corner Nov. 9,” Cherry told Warmington in a phone interview. “No problem.”

Cherry stated that he is standing by his comments.

“I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers,” Cherry said.

Cherry also said his words were not racial or bigoted but patriotic and respectful of the troops.

Cherry furthered explained to Warmington that he was simply expressing how he feels about the lack of people donning poppies.

“I speak the truth and I walk the walk,” Cherry said. “I have visited the bases of the troops, been to Afghanistan with our brave soldiers at Christmas, been to cemeteries of our fallen around the world and honoured our fallen troops on Coach’s Corner.”

“And it has been an honour to back the fighting men and women in uniform,” he added. Cherry said he would change none of it.

“To keep my job, I cannot be turned into a tamed robot,” said Cherry.

Cherry explained that it hurt being fired on Remembrance Day “because I would have liked to continue doing Coach’s Corner. The problem is if I have to watch everything I say, it isn’t Coach’s Corner.”

Cherry closed out the phone interview with Warmington by thanking his audience and giving one final message about Remembrance Day.

“I want to thank everyone who has watched Coach’s Corner over the last 35 years,” he said.

“Remember to wear your poppy to honour our fallen soldiers … Thumbs up.”