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Volume 26 No. 231
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Columns: Don Cherry's Ungraceful Exit Always Seemed Inevitable

Cherry has long been outspoken, but his words seem to finally have caught up to him
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Cherry has long been outspoken, but his words seem to finally have caught up to him
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Cherry has long been outspoken, but his words seem to finally have caught up to him
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Don Cherry's firing yesterday by Sportsnet "seemed somehow both inevitable and impossible," as the "Coach's Corner" host "courted controversy so many times without consequence that he came to be seen as all but untouchable," according to Warnica & Bharti of the NATIONAL POST. However, Cherry's xenophobic rant on Saturday "proved to be one rant too far, a sign perhaps of a man who no longer knew which lines he could not cross or a country no longer willing to accept a public figure so eager to cross them" (NATIONAL POST, 11/12). In Philadelphia, Rob Tornoe writes Cherry's "words finally caught up with him," and the "only surprise is that it took this long for Sportsnet to show Cherry the door" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/12). The NATIONAL POST's Scott Stinson in a front-page piece writes under the sub-header, "Eventually Don Cherry Really Stepped In It, As We Knew He Would" (NATIONAL POST, 11/12). In Edmonton, Terry Jones writes many people held the belief that, "sooner or later, it was going to happen." However, it could not have been predicted "for it to happen on Remembrance Day and for comments he made about what segments of the population weren't wearing poppies." This "really is the biggest hockey story of the year" thus far (EDMONTON SUN, 11/12).

LONG TIME COMING? In Vancouver, Ben Kuzma writes Cherry's remarks were "divisive and the repercussions were swift because Cherry always seemed to be on thin ice." While some "argued that maybe something was lost in translation and that he could have chosen his words better, the damage was done" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/12). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell wrote it is "hard to defend the indefensible, particularly when what Cherry did on Saturday was not an isolated incident or a one-off transgression," but rather a "pattern of behavior that has repeated itself time and again over the past three decades" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 11/11). In Montreal, Brendan Kelly writes it was "time for Cherry to go quietly into the night." There "simply isn't any place in the Canadian media" in '19 for "that kind of talk." Sportsnet parent Rogers Media "did the right thing and told Cherry enough is enough" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 11/12). The GLOBE & MAIL's Cathal Kelly in a front-page piece writes Cherry was "more than a broadcaster." Kelly: "He was an era." He "represented how many both inside and outside this country defined Canada over a period of time." Kelly: "But times change and Mr. Cherry wouldn't. That derailed him" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/12). In Toronto, Bruce Arthur in a front-page piece writes Cherry for a lot of people "defined hockey more than any other single figure over the last four decades." However, he "never changed, even as the world did" (TORONTO STAR, 11/12).

THE RIGHT CALL: A TORONTO STAR editorial states Sportsnet should be credited for "acting quickly," as firing Cherry was the "right decision, from both a moral and a business perspective." The company likely will "face a backlash from Cherry's many fans," but the balance in the world of sports and the country as a whole has "fundamentally shifted" (TORONTO STAR, 11/12). TSN's Bob McKenzie noted many people would say Cherry "crossed a lot of lines on Saturday nights and got away with that and more." But McKenzie added, "Times change, and the lines that get crossed, those lines sometimes move up, they become more difficult to come back from. When you start a diatribe with, 'You people,' if usually doesn't end very well" ("SportsCentre," TSN, 11/11). In Toronto, Rosie DiManno writes she is "no fan of 'cancel culture' and pious big-footing but enough is enough." With Cherry gone, Canadians can take all that is "good about Canada" in '19, "leaving behind" all that is not (TORONTO STAR, 11/12).

WAIT A MINUTE: USATODAY.com's Hemal Jhaveri writes Cherry's firing, which "seems to have been a long time in the making, doesn't feel like much justice at all." For a long time, Cherry's behavior has been "deemed problematic and insulting, yet he has continued to enjoy a national platform" (USATODAY.com, 11/11). In Winnipeg, Mike McIntyre in a front-page piece writes it was "always going to end this way," with an "unceremonious exit" for one of Canada's biggest personalities. Many will "applaud Sportsnet for doing the right thing." But this was a "problem of their own making," one that could be seen "coming from a mile away" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 11/12). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said Cherry could have been fired "anytime over the past -- I don't know -- 40 years" ("PTI," ESPN, 11/11).

THE OTHER SIDE: In Toronto, Brad Hunter writes Cherry "shouldn't have been fired." Only the "most woke among us are so divinely pure as to have never uttered something" that was "eye-raising or questionable" (TORONTO SUN, 11/12). In Ontario, Jerry Agar wonders if Cherry got fired because his employers "finally disagreed enough this time -- of the many over four decades -- or did they acquiesce to the mob?" (LONDON FREE PRESS, 11/12).