don cherry fired

Don Cherry says he wasn’t just referring to immigrants in poppy remark

Don Cherry has spoken out about his latest controversy — regarding his on-air comments accusing "you people that come here" of not wearing Remembrance Day poppies, which resulted in him being fired from Sportsnet two days later — in a surprise interview on Newstalk 1010 last night.

Cherry, who has been the face of Hockey Night in Canada for nearly 40 years, called in to the radio station and spoke with Nightside host Barb Digiulio about the weekend's events.

"After 38 years it's kind of strange to be unemployed halfway through the season and on all days, Remembrance Day, it's sad," Cherry said, repeating multiple times that he's not "whining about" being booted from his long-running Coach's Corner segment (though his supporters are).

"You make one little comment like 'you people' and you know how it picks up. But that's the way it is."

Digiulio asked Cherry the burning question on every Canadian's mind this morning: whether he meant to specifically refer to immigrants in his remarks.

"I did not. I meant everybody." Cherry replied.

He did make sure to clarify in the interview that the "everybody" he means could ostensibly include immigrants, but that would mean white immigrants, too. Many are still questioning this, however, as the original comments seemed very pointed, and Cherry has definitely never problematic in the past.

"It could have been the Irish, it could have been Scots, it could have been the English, it could have been anybody. But the people that you know would take offence to it are the ones that would... indonate [sic], is that how they say it? I forget how they say it... Sportsnet." (Do we know what he meant? Inundate? Who knows.)

He went on to give Digiulio some career advice, as apparently it's far too easy to get fired in media, even if you're a decent guy!

"Don't get carried away too much because you never know what can happen to you," he advised. "Look at all the guys [in this business] that have gone. You make one little slip and you're gone."

Other highlights of the interview: the fact that Cherry is "disappointed" in Ron's apology, but still considers him a friend, and the fact that he knows he "definitely" could have kept his job if he apologized, but "would rather go out with [his] shield."

He summed up the ordeal by reiterating "I still feel that everybody in this country that likes our way of life... should wear a poppy. If that's offensive, then there's nothing I can do about it. That's the way I feel and I'm not changing it and I don't regret a thing."

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