Don Cherry: Alex Ovechkin's critics 'same people that went after me'
"Alex is a great player and great person, and he deserves better than to be treated like this."
Don Cherry is making comparisons between the criticism of him and that of Alexander Ovechkin.
The controversial broadcaster was fired by Sportsnet in 2019 two days after targeting Canadian immigrants with divisive remarks about wearing a poppy on Remembrance Day. Since then, he has refused to apologize for what he said and is regularly stating his opinions on everything that is going on in the hockey world.
Now, it’s turned to Russian superstar Ovechkin and how he is being criticized for not speaking against his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
"I say leave him alone," Cherry told Joe Warmington of The Toronto Sun Sunday. "He's a hockey player. He has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. None of this is his fault. He's not involved in it."
Cherry believes that it is the same group of people discussing Ovechkin’s legacy, that wanted him to be fired through his years at Hockey Night in Canada.
“It’s the same crowd that went after me,” he said. “They don’t care about hockey, and it’s not about hockey. Alex is a great player and great person, and he deserves better than to be treated like this.”
Ovechkin has been recently held as an example of keeping politics and sports separate, with a large portion of the hockey world cheering him on to break the all-time NHL goals record, held by Wayne Gretzky. But he has not been completely silent on the conflict overseas.
“It’s a hard situation. I have lots of friends in Russia and Ukraine. And it’s hard to see the war. I hope soon it’s going to be over and there is going to be peace in the whole world,” Ovechkin said in February 2022. “Please, no more war. It doesn't matter who is in the war — Russia, Ukraine, different countries — I think we live in a world, like, we have to live in peace and a great world.”
The Russian hockey legend says it himself that he is in a difficult spot. He has close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin and this fact continues the conversation held around whether or not Ovechkin is complicit with the oligarch's unprovoked attack of Ukraine.
Cherry began his broadcasting career in 1980 and dominated Canadian televisions on Saturday nights with his "Coach's Corner" segment until his firing in 2019.
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