NHL analyst Don Cherry was fired for his “divisive” comments about immigrants on his show Saturday.
Sportsnet released a press release saying the longtime Canadian hockey commentator would “immediately step down” due to his remarks on the show accusing immigrants of not wearing poppies to respect military heroes, a Canadian tradition.
“Sports brings people together — it unites us, not divides us,” Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley said in the release. “Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided that it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.”
Statement from Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/LRKrww0AQ1— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 11, 2019
“You people ... love our way of life, love our milk and honey," Cherry, 85, said. "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.”
Don Cherry’s rant on immigrants:— Rosa Hwang (@journorosa) November 9, 2019
“You people... love our way of life, love our milk and honey. 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.”
Ron MacLean nodded and gave a thumbs up. pic.twitter.com/OXnIwV1n9T
Cherry stood by his comments when speaking to the Toronto Sun after he was fired.
“I know what I said and I meant it," Cherry said. “Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honor our fallen soldiers."
“To keep my job, I cannot be turned into a tamed robot," he added.
His costar MacLean apologized on Twitter for his live reaction to Cherry’s remarks.
"It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it,” he said in a statement.
The Defense Minister of Canada, Harjit Sajjan, also tweeted in response, saying, “All Canadians should remember the sacrifice made by the Chinese Canadian community.”
“I hope we can turn this into a moment where we can learn about … all who have served,” he posted.