Sportsnet fires Don Cherry over controversial comments about immigrants

Doug Belshaw via Flickr

Doug Belshaw via Flickr

Don Cherry was sacked by Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada after his rant about immigrants and poppies aired during the latest segment of "Coach's Corner", the network announced Monday. In Canada, the flowers are traditionally worn in honor of veterans.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie called Cherry's remarks "despicable".

He finished by reminding fans: "Remember to wear your poppy to honour our fallen soldiers... thumbs up". "Downtown Toronto nobody wears a poppy". Last night was a really good lesson to Don and me. You love our milk and honey.

"Today, we pay tribute to our veterans, to those who have been injured in the line of duty, and to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice", he said.

Outrage over Cherry's words mounted over the weekend and into Remembrance Day until the broadcaster's dismissal was announced Monday afternoon.

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"Let us dazzle with a dynamic devotion to our destiny as a country determined in its dedication to the dignified diversity of its people as we delight in the delivery of deferential decency with discipline and diligence to assure we can all the live Canadian dream", he said. It unites us, not divides us.

He has built his celebrity through his appearance on Coach's Corner, a segment of Hockey Night in Canada - a television staple in the country since 1952.

Sportsnet's statement acknowledges that "Don is synonymous with hockey".

Speaking on the Hockey Night in Canada show on Saturday, Cherry singled out Toronto immigrants for not wearing poppies.

Yabsley had already apologized for Cherry's comments in a statement Sunday, writing that "Don's discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network".

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"I hope that all Canadians can learn from the sacrifices of the courageous women and men of the Canadian Forces have made and continue to make for each and every one of us".

"Hockey is at its best when it brings people together", the league statement said.

Cherry faced immediate criticism for the remark. "We're proud of diverse cultural heritage and we'll always stand up for it".

Don Cherry sparked online backlash on Saturday night for his comments about immigrants not wanting to wear poppies ahead of Remembrance Day.

After his divisive remarks this weekend, Cherry did not apologize, even after Sportsnet issued a statement and co-host Ron MacLean took responsibility for his role in the matter. We were wrong, and I sincerely apologize.

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"I owe you an apology too. I sat there, did not catch it, did not respond", MacLean said. Most of us prefer to watch our Canadiens games on RDS in part because we don't enjoy Cherry's pugilistic view of hockey and life.

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