Cherry Opens Up On Sportsnet Firing; Wanted To "Smooth It Over"
Don Cherry launched his new “Grapevine” podcast this morning, and he offered to try and “explain” the comments he made that led to his firing from Sportsnet earlier this month. He reiterated he would not offer an apology for his comments on immigrants but said he was “going to smooth it over.” Cherry said Sportsnet officials "made conditions that made it impossible for me to do it." Cherry: "I just couldn’t do it, and you bite the bullet. I don’t know what else to say. I said what I said, I still say it.” He noted he evidently said “something that upset Sportsnet, and they canned me and I’m now unemployed, except for doing this beautiful podcast.” Cherry said no one from Sportsnet spoke to him following his dismissal. He said, “I never got a letter, I never got anything. … They knew it was over.” Cherry: “Happy to be there for 38 years and if (I’ve) got to go, I’m glad to be going out with my shield. ... One door closes, another door opens up. This is fun for me” (“Grapevine,” SPOTIFY.com, 11/19).
CONFERENCE COMMUNICATION: The CP's Gregory Strong wrote Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley's scheduled appearance on a roundtable yesterday "looked like a great get" for the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference in Toronto, but Yabsley "was not in attendance." Former Sportsnet President Scott Moore did appear on a panel, but "declined to discuss specifics on Cherry's departure." Moore said, "The events of the last 10 days or so have been really unfortunate for Don and for Rogers. It's not the way anybody wanted for Don's career to come to an end." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also "did not weigh in on the developments" during a keynote interview at the conference. But he said Sportsnet's Ron MacLean "obviously made his feelings clear and spoke from the heart" during "HNIC" this past weekend. Meanwhile, Moore "felt MacLean had 'been caught in the crossfire,' adding that it would be 'totally unfair' for him to take any of the blame" (CP, 11/18).