SBD/Issue 162/Sports Media

Cherry On CBC Explains His "Redneck Town" Comment On ESPN

Cherry Explains His "Redneck
Town" Comment On ESPN
Don Cherry Saturday on the CBC’s “Hockey Night In Canada” explained his comments on ESPN Friday when he called Detroit a “redneck town” while discussing the Red Wings, according to William Houston of the GLOBE & MAIL. Cherry said that he “defines rednecks, not as bigots, but as Irish and Scottish immigrants working on construction, as Cherry did years ago, and literally having red necks.” Cherry’s first ESPN appearance received “more than 100 posts rating its quality, as well as a large number of comments” on ESPN.com. However, Houston notes Cherry's appearance on the show Sunday "avoided controversy," and it had received just 43 votes on quality by late yesterday afternoon and no comments. By contrast, ESPN’s Barry Melrose’s spot from Sunday received 93 votes and 23 comments. ESPN Senior VP and Managing Editor of Studio Production Mark Gross said Cherry has been “terrific. And he’s fun to work with” (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/13).

CHERRY PICKER: YAHOO SPORTS’ Greg Wyshynski wrote Cherry during his Sunday spot “criticized the Mellon Arena’s ice crew for helping to make” a disallowed Penguins goal inconclusive during Game Two of the team's Eastern Conference Finals series against the Flyers. Cherry: “When did they paint the goal line across there? 1992?” But Wyshynski noted when the clip was uploaded to ESPN.com yesterday, "that section wasn’t included” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/12). Gross said that Cherry’s remark was “made to ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ as an aside … after his spot was over. That’s why it didn’t appear online” (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/13).

OUTSPOKEN : AOL SPORTS’ Kevin Schultz writes of the redneck comment, “Like him or loathe him, hockey fans that are familiar with Cherry know that this type of talk is nothing new from him. The question is -- did ESPN?” (SPORTS.AOL.com, 5/10). In Michigan, Pat Caputo wrote, “What Cherry does at times borders on bigotry. It’s his dark side. He can’t seem to fawn over ‘Good, old Canadian boys,’ without taking cheap shots at European players in the process.” It makes Cherry a “double-edged sword. It’s wonderful that he is a dinosaur living in the days of the Original Six.” However, it is “deplorable the way Cherry strikes out at a change that has made the game far more skilled than back when Cherry reached the NHL as a player” (OAKLAND PRESS, 5/12)

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