"HNIC" Sponsor Labatt Condemns Don Cherry's Comments
Don Cherry's remarks on immigrants during "Hockey Night in Canada" on Saturday night "rankled at least one" of the show's major sponsors, Labatt Brewing Co., according to Marty Klinkenberg of the GLOBE & MAIL. Budweiser, which is brewed in Canada by Labatt, is the "name sponsor" of the "Coach's Corner" segment. Labatt VP/Marketing Todd Allen in a statement following Cherry's firing said, "The comments made Saturday on 'Coach's Corner' were clearly inappropriate and divisive, and in no way reflect Budweiser's views. As a sponsor of the broadcast, we immediately expressed our concerns and respect the decision which was made by Sportsnet" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/12). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell noted prior to his firing yesterday, Cherry had "always been able to justify his behavior by pointing out that he was the star of the show, driving ratings and giving Canada's national broadcaster revenue streams that filled the coffers for a lot more programming than hockey." Campbell: "That's why it was interesting to see what Labatt ... had to say about all this." It is "not known how much pressure the brewery put on Sportsnet to dismiss Cherry," but its statement in the aftermath of the firing "was telling." There is "no doubt that there's a good segment" of "HNIC" viewers who will "never allow another drop of Budweiser to taint their lips again." This makes the Labatt decision "all the more impressive" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 11/11).