Don Cherry's comments on Saturday night's Coach's Corner has cost him his job at Hockey Night in Canada. Rogers Sportsnet fired him today.
If you missed it, here's the most offensive part of Don Cherry's poppy rant.
You people that come here, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.
I've been watching Don Cherry on Coach's Corner since the beginning in 1986. He's always been politically incorrect with social values directly opposed to mine, but I found him entertaining and generally harmless. It wasn't until Don spoke at Rob Ford's inauguration that it crystalized that he had become an embarrassment. Here's how he started and ended that speech.
That kiss — is that the kiss of death that they give like, ah, I guess that’s what they do around here. Well actually I’m wearing pink for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything. I thought I’d get it in.
And that’s why I say he’s going to be the greatest mayor this city has ever seen, as far as I’m concerned, and put that in your pipe, you left-wing kooks.
I even bought a tee shirt to commemorate that opening comment. If Don was against me, I felt I was doing something right.
Gord Stellick visited me recently, and before we pressed record I told him if Don Cherry had retired a decade ago, he'd have left a hero. Today, he's the villain. You can hear and see this exchange at the 2:00 mark of the Periscope feed. Hard to believe two weeks later Don Cherry is off the air.
Funnily enough, I received a phone call from Don Cherry just this past August. I was chatting with Mark Hebscher about wanting to have Don Cherry on Toronto Mike'd for episode 500, and Mark suggested I write him a letter. Not an email, or DM, or even a Facebook message, but an actual letter. Mark had Don's home address, so I decided to give it a shot. Don, to his credit, called me up to thank me for the handwritten note, but politely declined the invitation to appear on my podcast. He told me The Fan 590 wouldn't be too happy about it because he had a show with Brian Williams on that station. The very next week, Grapeline was cancelled.
And now his television gig of 33 years is over. No word yet on what will replace Coach's Corner or how this impacts Ron MacLean. Speaking of Ron, here's his memorable appearance on Toronto Mike'd.