The dismissal of legendary hockey broadcaster Don Cherry by Sportsnet on Monday seemed to have all of Canada talking.
Many gave their thoughts on the 85-year-old’s rant about immigrants and poppies that was broadcasted across the country during Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. And while #DonCherryIsRight and #DonCherryIsWrong were both trending on Twitter in the hours after Cherry’s firing became official, the Royal Canadian Legion released their statement on the matter.
“Mr. Cherry’s personal opinion was hurtful, divisive and in no way condoned by the Legion,” their official Twitter account posted in a short thread Monday afternoon. “We do remain appreciative of his passionate support for Veterans.
“We know many new Canadians understand and welcome the tradition of the red poppy and will continue to educate all citizens about the significance of this powerful symbol.”
The Royal Canadian Legion is the country’s largest Veterans and Community Support Organization.
Cherry — who had hosted Coach’s Corner on Saturday nights for nearly four decades — became quite passionate while speaking about the nation’s troops and the importance of civilians buying poppies to show their support with Remembrance Day around the corner at the time of the broadcast. In doing so, though, he singled out immigrants unprompted.
“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...”
“I know what I said and I meant it,” Cherry said via the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington on Monday. “Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers...”
That most recent statement is likely something everyone — including the Royal Canadian Legion — could get behind. It simply isn’t what came out of his mouth on national television, though.
The unsettling thing is this isn’t the first time he’s used his spotlight to spread his messages chalked full of subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle xenophobia.
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