Sportsnet apologizes for Don Cherry’s anti-immigrant comments

Sportsnet apologizes for Don Cherry’s anti-immigrant comments

TORONTO — Sportsnet apologized for hockey commentator Don Cherry’s remarks on national television about his belief that new immigrants do not support veterans by wearing poppies — following an intense backlash from the public, politicians and the NHL.

“Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network,” Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley said in a statement Sunday.

“We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”

Cherry, 85, seemingly singled out new immigrants in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont., where he lives, for not honouring Canada’s veterans and dead soldiers during his weekly Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

“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.”

Cherry did not respond to multiple phone calls seeking comment.

The National Hockey League said in a statement that Cherry’s remarks were “offensive and contrary to the values we believe in.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie called his comments “despicable.”

“We’re proud of diverse cultural heritage and we’ll always stand up for it,” she said on Twitter. ”New immigrants enrich our country for the better. We’re all Canadians and wear our poppies proudly.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory implored Cherry to come to Old City Hall on Remembrance Day to “see thousands of Canadians of all ages, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds” who honour veterans.

“Don Cherry is way off base to question the devotion of newer Canadians to the very same veterans and the sacrifices we will honour tomorrow on Remembrance Day,” Tory said in a statement.

“His comments are unfair and just plain wrong.”

Former Liberal MP Bob Rae also weighed in.

“Cherry’s remarks were ignorant and prejudiced, and at this point in our history can’t go without comment.”

Outrage was building online on Sunday with many on Twitter calling for Cherry to be fired.

Yet hundreds of social media users supported Cherry’s comments. Some said they wanted more people to wear poppies, while others pointed fingers at immigrants.

Rumours circulated about the possibility of Cherry being cut from Coach’s Corner earlier this year after a Toronto Sun columnist wrote that his return to the show had not been confirmed by the summer.

Cherry said at the time that he was not retiring from the decades-old show yet.

Hockey Night in Canada used to be a long-time CBC Saturday night staple. The show and its games moved to Sportsnet when Rogers landed a 12-year, $5.2 billion national broadcast rights deal with the NHL that began in 2014.

The show is still broadcast on CBC in a sub-licensing deal with Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet. But the show is run by Sportsnet and filmed in its studio in the CBC building in Toronto.

“As Rogers Sportsnet is the national rights holder for NHL Hockey in Canada, CBC has no purview over any editorial (choice of commentators or what they say) with respect to Hockey Night in Canada,” CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said in an email.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand and Major General Dany Fortin look on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Pfizer-BioNTech cutting back vaccine deliveries to Canada due to production issues

OTTAWA — Procurement Minister Anita Anand says production issues in Europe will… Continue reading

A stainless steel monolith is set up along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, in a Jan. 15, 2021 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

Installed it with the help of volunteers after getting permission from private landowners

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, Donald Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Capitol rioters included highly trained ex-military and cops

Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and decorated combat veteran from Texas among the most prominent supporters

Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages. (Photo by Canadian Food Inspection Agency)
Harvest Meats recalls sausages over undercooking

Recall affects customers in Alberta

TSA officers wear protective masks at a security screening area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Monday, May 18, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Airlines say they are stepping up security on flights to Washington before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Delta, United and Alaska airlines said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 they will bar passengers flying to Washington from putting guns in checked bags. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Most major US airlines ban guns in luggage for DC flights

Bans start Saturday and run through Inauguration Day until Jan. 23

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Updated: Jason Kenney kicks Lesser Slave Lake MLA out of caucus

Pat Rehn will not be permitted to run for UCP nominations

letter
Coal mining a concern

Thank you for the Canadian Press article in the Advocate on Jan.… Continue reading

In this photo taken from a video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, A Russian Tu-160 strategic bomber fires a cruise missile at test targets, during a military drills, Russia. The Russian military has conducted sweeping drills of its strategic nuclear forces that featured several practice missile launches. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
Russia follows US to withdraw from Open Skies Treaty

U.S. completed its withdrawal from the pact in November

FILE - In this July 26, 2019, file photo, China’s Sun Yang leaves the pool deck following the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay heats at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The World Anti-Doping Agency says a Swiss court has overturned an eight-year doping ban against Chinese swimmer Sun Yang and ordered the case back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a second time but with a different chairman of the judges. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
Swiss supreme court details anti-China bias of Sun judge

Hostile social media posts by Court of Arbitration for Sport judge Franco Frattini

FILE - In this Saturday, March 7, 2020, file photo, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba passes the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings in Los Angeles. Bonding between veterans and youngsters has been a time-honored tradition in hockey. But in yet another setback related to the relentless COVID-19, NHL protocols aiming to curb the virus spread and keep the schedule on track could make that vital off-ice development of camaraderie more difficult. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Mentors wanted: Virus limits vet-rookie time away from rink

Bonding between veterans and youngsters has been a time-honoured tradition

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2020 file photo, NFL Super Bowl 54 football game halftime performer Jennifer Lopez answers questions at a news conference in Miami. Lopez will give a musical performance on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol when Biden is sworn in as the nation’s 46th president next Wednesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Stars return to inauguration, with J.Lo, Gaga set to perform

Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances

An example of a child’s artwork during the COVID-19 pandemic is shown in a handout. Many of the children’s drawings show people alone, haunted by shadowy spectres, or worse, their own thoughts.The researcher behind the childart.ca project says the virtual gallery of illustrations by Canadian kids and teenagers showcases a wide variety of visions of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-childart.ca
‘This is too much’: Art shows children’s struggles during pandemic, says researcher

Recurring themes include confined figures, screaming faces and gory imagery

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

FILE - In this file photo dated Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, Pope Francis holds his pastoral staff as he arrives to celebrate Mass, at St. Peter's Basilica. Pope Francis has changed church law to explicitly allow women to do more things during Mass, Monday Jan. 11, 2021, while reaffirming they cannot be priests. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, FILE)
Pope says women can read at Mass, but still can’t be priests

Pope says women can read at Mass, but still can’t be priests

Most Read