Don Cherry explains what he meant by 'you people' in poppy rant

One day after being let go by Sportsnet for comments made during his weekly Coach’s Corner segment on Saturday night, Don Cherry attempted to clarify the statements that comprised his passionate speech on the importance of wearing poppies in Canada.

Cherry appeared on FOX News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday to clarify what he meant during his Saturday segment.

“The big thing is, I should’ve said — if I had come through, if I had been smart and protected myself — I should’ve said everybody should be wearing a poppy. Like I went downtown Toronto — fair enough at the whole thing — it’s the two words, ‘you people,’ as you know people are very sensitive like that. They got me,” Cherry told Carlson, who openly empathized with the former Coach’s Corner co-host and called his critics “fascist.”

Earlier in the day, Cherry explained himself to Canadian media outlets.

“Well, I meant, I meant everybody,” he explained to Adrian Ghobrial of CityNews Toronto on Tuesday when asked who he meant by “you people” — a phrase that was interrupted by some as singling out immigrants.

“But I said the wrong thing... Everybody. That’s what I meant... When I left that night, nobody said anything. It was the next day that they talked about it and the whole deal. So, that’s the way people want to take it. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Don Cherry spoke with Adrian Ghobrial of CityNews Toronto about what he was trying to say during Coach's Corner on Saturday night. (YouTube//CityNews Toronto)
Don Cherry spoke with Adrian Ghobrial of CityNews Toronto about what he was trying to say during Coach's Corner on Saturday night. (YouTube//CityNews Toronto)

After his rant was broadcast across the country prior to Remembrance Day in Canada, the importance of supporting the armed forces wasn’t up for debate (even though it became a common discussion online in the hours leading up to, and following, Cherry’s Monday dismissal). The issue that left many incensed was an inferred targeted attack on immigrants that don’t wear poppies — not all people that don’t.

“You people love... You, they come here. Whatever it is. You love our way of life, you love our milk and honey,” he stated on Saturday. “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...”

Three days removed from the broadcast, Cherry regrets the words he used during the segment while speaking about a cause very close to his heart.

“Yes, I wish I had said everybody,” Cherry said when asked by Ghobrial if he wished he had used different words. “But [there’s] nothing you can do about it. I didn’t use it and you can’t go back and say ‘wish.’ I wish I had done this, I wish I had done that. I did it and I’m paying the price.”

While he refused to apologize on Monday for his stance on wearing a poppy, Cherry did say he would have apologized for his choice of words if given the chance to do so this Saturday.

“I think if I had Saturday I would have, ah, apologized if I had of hurt people and stuff like that,” he said when Ghobrial inquired about whether he was asked to say sorry. “I think I would, I would have. And I said I would. But, it wasn’t enough...”

“If I had the opportunity to go on [Coach’s Corner] this Saturday, I would go on and say I wish I had used ‘everybody.’”

Cherry suggested that he could have amended the situation and saved his position before his firing.

“I offered to come on, and put out a note,” he said, according to Michael Talbot and Adrian Ghobrial of CityNews. “But it wasn’t enough and they wanted me to do more and I wasn’t prepared to do it, it’s that simple... I could’ve had my job back if I agreed to do those things and I said ‘No.'“

“It’s a good way to go out, if I gotta go.”

Cherry didn’t elaborate on what his employers asked him to do.

Sportsnet and Ron MacLean apologized for Cherry’s comments on Sunday, while the Royal Canadian Legion did not condone his statements.

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