A hockey commentator in Canada has been slammed for a ‘despicable’ on-air diatribe where he suggested immigrants were not honouring the country’s fallen servicemen and women.
Don Cherry, an 85-year-old veteran broadcaster for Sportsnet, claimed immigrants in Canada were not wearing poppies for Remembrance Day during his regular ‘Coach’s Corner’ segment.
Backlash came swiftly after Cherry seemed to single out immigrants living in Toronto.
“You people, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said.
“These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
Viewers took to social media to denounce Cherry’s segment, while Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley issued an apology and the NHL distanced themselves from Cherry’s comments.
Much of the outrage centred around the fact that while the broadcaster had apologised for the segment, Cherry himself was yet to do so.
Don Cherry stirs controversy with rant on immigrants not wearing poppies. “You people love... that come here.. you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy...” #HNIC pic.twitter.com/r3WQ0ZalaJ— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) November 10, 2019
Congrats to the rest of Canada coming to the realization that Don Cherry is a prejudiced racist blowhard. A little late, but still.— Alexandre Montpetit (@alexmontpetit) November 10, 2019
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
Everyone is apologizing for Don Cherry's comments but Don Cherry himself.— Leah Kessel (@leahflame) November 10, 2019
Ron MacLean's apology on Hometown Hockey tonight was a decent start. But if this is all that comes of Don Cherry's comments, it will have been woefully, woefully inadequate.— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) November 10, 2019
Sportsnet president Yabsley said Cherry’s remarks did not reflect the broadcaster’s attitude towards Canadian society.
“Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network,” he said.
“We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologise for these divisive remarks.”
The NHL also issued a statement condemning Cherry’s comments.
“Hockey is at its best when it brings people together,” the league statement read.
“The comments made last night were offensive and contrary to the values we believe in.”