Don Cherry's Firing From Sportsnet Invokes Political Discourse In Canada
The reaction to Don Cherry's firing from Sportsnet this week "seems to have cleaved very clearly down political lines," and the news has "somehow become as much a political argument as a sports story," according to a front-page piece by Bruce Arthur of the TORONTO STAR (11/13). In Toronto, Joe Warmington notes many of those interviewing Cherry yesterday were "pressing him to apologize as if he had murdered somebody." Warmington: "The last time I saw this media pile-on is when former mayor Rob Ford was their prey" (TORONTO SUN, 11/13). Also in Toronto, Anthony Furey writes the "feeling that we were heading on autopilot towards yet another installment of 'cancel culture'" will "linger as a bitter taste in the mouths of those who feel this whole Don Cherry incident got out of hand" (TORONTO SUN, 11/13). Fox News' Tucker Carlson, who had Cherry on his show last night, said Cherry's critics are "faking their outrage." Carlson: "They are trying to crush you because they want to exert power" ("Tucker Carlson Tonight," Fox News, 11/12). The NATIONAL POST's Scott Stinson writes Cherry is "now Canada's most prominent fallen soldier in the culture wars" (NATIONAL POST, 11/13). In Edmonton, Lorne Gunter writes Cherry's firing "makes it look as if his critics have won, as if Cherry's 'progressive' foes who have long wanted him silenced ... have once again used bully tactics to get their way." However, in this case, the "problem is of Don's own making" (EDMONTON SUN, 11/13).
HARD TO SAY I'M SORRY: In Montreal, Stu Cowan writes if Cherry "had apologized to the many, many people he offended this time," he would "probably be back on Coach's Corner this Saturday." But Cherry's ego was "allowed to swell over the years as his previous bosses continually gave him a pass to say whatever he wanted and he could basically dare them to fire him." If he "did dare" Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley this time, it "backfired" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 11/13). In Toronto, Steve Simmons writes he believes had Cherry "chosen to apologize" the way his Coach's Corner co-host Ron MacLean did, he would "probably be back on the air." But Cherry "won't -- or can't -- apologize." That is "not who he is or what he's ever been about" (TORONTO SUN, 11/13). Also in Toronto, Vinay Menon writes the "irony of Cherry getting whacked" from "HNIC" is that "deep down, he always knew it would end this way." Menon: "I really wish Cherry had just apologized and turned this into a teachable moment. But he never apologizes" (TORONTO STAR, 11/13).
LEGACY AFFECTED? THE HOCKEY NEWS' Matt Larkin wrote there is "no denying Cherry has been an immensely popular figure throughout his broadcasting career, that many people will forever consider him synonymous with Canada and hockey itself." However, his "shtick may one day be remembered like cigarettes are." No matter how "nostalgic some of us may feel toward Cherry's legacy -- it simply hasn't aged well, and it likely will look even worse as the years go by" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 11/12). A Springfield REPUBLICAN editorial states Canadian hockey fans accepted Cherry's "old-grouch persona as part of the total, colorful Don Cherry Package." But in "looking to stir up this needless off-ice fight, he went too far" (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 11/13).In Vancouver, Ed Willes writes Cherry, "by all rights, should have been fired decades ago." However, he "created something so large, so powerful that he changed the rules" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/13).
NO SYMPATHY HERE: In Montreal, Brendan Kelly notes there "weren't any prominent voices in francophone Quebec coming to the defence of Cherry this week." The reaction to Cherry's firing "could be summarized in one phrase -- good riddance!" That was in fact the "headline on the front page" of the French-language Montreal Journal yesterday. Franco Quebecers have had a "hate on for the outspoken commentator for a couple of decades." That is because Cherry has "often used his pulpit on the most popular hockey broadcast in Canada to slam francophone athletes and, more generally, francophone culture." While it has been "years since he's made any controversial remarks" about francophones, few "appear to have forgiven him for what he's said in the past" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 11/13).