“You people...”
November 10, 2019 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Don Cherry sparked online backlash on Saturday night for his comments about immigrants not wanting to wear poppies ahead of Remembrance Day. [CBC] “Don Cherry is in the limelight yet again, this time for complaining that he rarely sees people he believes to be new immigrants wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day. The 85-year-old Hockey Night in Canada personality said on Saturday on his weekly Coach's Corner segment that he's less frequently seeing people wearing poppies anymore to honour fallen Canadian soldiers, and he singled out those he believes are immigrants in Toronto, prompting a swift online backlash. [...] Cherry made his comment prior to running his annual Remembrance Day video montage, where he is seen walking through a military cemetery in France visiting the graves of Canadian soldiers who went to battle in the First World War.” [Full Coach's Corner recording of offensive comment.]

Full quote from Don Cherry:
“You know, I was talking to a veteran, and I said, I’m not going to run the (annual Remembrance Day montage) anymore, because what’s the sense? I live in Mississauga, nobody wears, very few people wear a poppy. “Downtown Toronto, forget it, downtown Toronto, nobody wears a poppy. And I’m not going to, and he says, wait a minute. How about running it for the people that buy them? Now you go to the small cities and you know, the rows on rows, you people love — that come here, whatever it is — you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price. Anyhow, I’m going to run it for you great people and good Canadians that bought a poppy.”
• When will enough be enough with Don Cherry and Coach's Corner? [The Score]
“Don Cherry doesn't represent me. He likely doesn't represent you. The Canada he longs for, and the hockey community he longs for, have both long since passed out of date. But, in choosing a set of carefully crafted words over swift action for his most recent diatribe, Rogers Communications and its Sportsnet brand continues to make it appear as though Cherry does represent us. This is inexcusable for a company that, since taking over the Hockey Night in Canada franchise in 2014, has had multiple opportunities to part ways with the divisive commentator. Saturday night was the latest invitation for Sportsnet to take Cherry off the air, and they whiffed. [...] A statement such as this - one in which Cherry's boss acknowledges the discrimination and vaguely apologizes for it - is better than nothing. But it's not nearly enough. Sportsnet, and by extension Rogers, one of Canada's largest employers, is enabling xenophobia by keeping Coach's Corner alive in its current form.”
• Don Cherry’s Dangerous Legacy [Vice]
“Don Cherry has always sold his tough brand of hockey with a carnival barker’s touch. His bravado, animated suits, and kid-targeted merchandising display a hard-nosed but clean-cut Canadian sheen. But behind the family-friendly framing of his ethos is a broadcaster who has very real ideas about how hockey should be played and who gets to play it. The former NHL coach’s greatest controversies are so well-known that few in this country will have a neutral opinion on him: His attack on former enforcers speaking out against the NHL, “left-wing pinkos”, decades of anti-Quebec (and European) comments, the throwaway insults about women in hockey. But still, he thrives. Despite rumours in the off-season that Rogers was cutting ties with him—he’s 85—Cherry returned to “Coach’s Corner” on Sportsnet this season. As the game of hockey changes, it’s time to evaluate Cherry’s lasting legacy on both the game, and the country: Why he’s tolerated—no, loved—by so many Canadians, what that says about our collective values, and how deep his impact on male hockey culture has been.”
• NHL issues statement on Cherry's comments [TSN]
“The National Hockey League has issued a statement regarding the comments Don Cherry made on Hockey Night in Canada. “Hockey is at its best when it brings people together.” The statement continues, “The comments made last night were offensive and contrary to the values we believe in. Sportsnet has apologized for hockey commentator Don Cherry's remarks about what he believes are new immigrants not wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day. "Don's discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network," Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley said in a statement Sunday. "We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks."”
• Don Cherry's comments about 'you people' were disgraceful [Montreal Gazette]
“Cherry’s comments were disgraceful, but again, not surprising coming from Canada’s version of Donald Trump. They also had absolutely nothing to do with hockey on a show called Hockey Night in Canada. The NHL likes to promote Hockey is for Everyone and there’s a Hockey Night Punjabi telecast on Saturday nights that was on at the same time Cherry was ranting against “you people” with his Coach’s Corner sidekick Ron MacLean nodding his head in approval and giving a thumbs-up to the anti-immigrant talk. MacLean looked like Sean Spicer when he was supporting Trump as his press secretary before becoming a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. I’m the son of Scottish immigrants — a first-generation Canadian — so I guess I qualify as a “good Canadian” in Cherry’s old world of black-and-white TV. Sulemaan Ahmed is of Pakistani descent and knew exactly who Cherry’s rant was targeted at — people who look like him. Ahmed, who lives in the Toronto area, is a principal at Servo Annex, a company that educates company presidents and senior executives in digital and social media.”
• There is no "#youpeople”. [Burnaby Now]
“Burnaby South MP and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted a powerful response Sunday. “Don, let me introduce you to “#youpeople” My great grandfather, Hira Singh, who served in WW1 & WW2 under the British. We honour all who served,” Singh tweeted. “All sorts of people have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of Canada. Women, immigrants, LGBTQ2S Cdns, Indigenous people. There is no "#youpeople”. We’re all as Canadian as the next. We honour all who served. That's what Canada is all about. #RemembranceSunday.””
[On refusing to wear the poppy previously.][More previously.]
posted by Fizz (138 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ok boomer. I wish his non-hockey comments were not even reported on, it just encourages him to play up his persona.

I was in Mississauga today and plenty of Canadians were wearing poppies, almost everyone I saw. I wasn’t wearing one, ironically enough, but I was born in Canada so I guess I get a “pass”.
posted by saucysault at 4:37 PM on November 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


I choose to not wear one and I don't think I'll ever wear one again. I had a very bad experience when I first moved to Canada. An old white man yelled at me. It has forever soured me on that "symbol" of remembrance. I resent the idea that I'm not "Canadian" enough because I am not wearing some piece of felt. That's some fucking bullshit.

I still observe a moment of silence on Remembrance Day to honor the sacrifices of all of the soldiers/people who have given their lives and their time in service of a greater good. And as NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh mentions above, it's not just white men who served: women, immigrants, LGBTQ2S, Indigenous people, and so many others who fall in between.
posted by Fizz at 4:41 PM on November 10, 2019 [36 favorites]


We lived in canada from 2006 to 2015. Don cherry was a xenopbobic racist douchebag since at least that long. Pretty sure ive made this precise comment here and elsewhere on a hockey blog. I always get corrected by someone that "canada isnt a race". So yay for vindication i guess? He has expressed malevolence for "the others" for as long as ive been aware of him (going back something close to 30 years) and frankly his whole reason for being (hockey talk) is wrong headed about 93% of the time too. Between this asshat and jim hughson excusing auston matthews' assault as a "little problem to put behind him" because he scored 2 goals on opening night.... Hell. I don't have a conclusion. Just kinda sad. When media companies start to decide that "doing the right thing" is more important than ratings.... I guess pigs will fly out of my butt.
posted by chasles at 4:43 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ok boomer. I wish his non-hockey comments were not even reported on, it just encourages him to play up his persona.

Except Cherry was born during the depression (1935). A member of the so called "Silent" generation, ironically he won't shut-up.
posted by Zedcaster at 4:50 PM on November 10, 2019 [11 favorites]


We lived in canada from 2006 to 2015. Don cherry was a xenopbobic racist douchebag since at least that long.

Don Cherry has been on the air since the 80’s, and he has always been that way. I have never understood the appeal of that asshole.
posted by fimbulvetr at 4:52 PM on November 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


I have never understood the appeal of that asshole.

I mean, it's basically nostalgia for some kind of antiquated vision of America/Canada that is entirely white. It is a hot stew of sexism, bigotry, & nationalism. Yuck.
posted by Fizz at 5:01 PM on November 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


@paulisci: "It's a really pity nobody else in Canada other than Don Cherry is willing or able to share their opinions about ice hockey because otherwise there would be a very easy solution to this problem."
posted by mazola at 5:06 PM on November 10, 2019 [43 favorites]


John Prine's sentiments are applicable here as well, right?
posted by NoMich at 5:07 PM on November 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


Given some of his sartorial choices, I've always thought the Hockey Night in Canada studios were haunted by a boorish couch, demanded air time, and nobody could stop it or it would do something worse to the rest of the place.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:11 PM on November 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


Just for the record, everyone reading this knows a veteran who says you don’t have to wear, say, or do anything to recognize our sacrifice, and that ignoring it is in fact the whole goddamn point of our service.

And Don Cherry can pound sand.
posted by Etrigan at 5:12 PM on November 10, 2019 [41 favorites]


it's basically nostalgia for some kind of antiquated vision of America/Canada that is entirely white.

aka "old stock"

Meanwhile, to observe the occasion with the appropriate solemnity, make sure to visit poppystore.ca where you can get your poppy cell phone case, poppy playing cards, poppy wrist band, poppy tote bag, etc.
posted by ODiV at 5:12 PM on November 10, 2019


Don Cherry was a big Rob Ford supporter. He was Ford's guest at his inaugural council meeting in 2010, and after rambling on about how he gets personally attacked by the "left-wing pinko media" said, “Rob’s honest, he’s truthful... 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.” He goes on about what a great man Rob was to this day. As it happened the left-wing kooks weren't the ones putting things in their pipe and smoking it.

Fire that ignorant, pig-headed jackass.
posted by orange swan at 5:15 PM on November 10, 2019 [29 favorites]


A couple of days ago a commissionaire (these are typically ex-Canadian Forces types who work as security for government sites etc,) politely stopped me to sell me a poppy. It was convenient so I proceeded, but I had to wonder: would I have be asked if I had darker skin? I also considered whether I should adopt the white poppy, and avoid the traditional red one.

Cherry's behaviour informs this thinking for next year.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 5:20 PM on November 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this roundup, Fizz.

From that Vice piece:

His loudest critics are adults, but his most targeted demographic has always been young hockey players. His first screen credit on his “Known For” section on IMDb is his one-time guest spot on an episode of the 90s kids’ horror TV show Goosebumps. When he’s about to make a salient point about hockey on “Coach’s Corner,” he’ll direct “kids” to “listen up.”

Given his national platform, Cherry is one of the most influential voices in the sports entertainment landscape for kids in Canada. Well, mostly boys in white Canada.

Boys in white Canada were easily the biggest demographic of Rock’em Sock’em Hockey, a powerful vehicle for Cherry’s messaging since the series’ introduction in 1989. The VHS tapes had practical value for summarizing a full season of NHL hockey long before the internet, YouTube, and 24-hour sports television. Rock’em Sock’em Hockey typically portrayed Cherry hosting from his basement or in a hockey setting where he provided commentary and threw to video segments. He once rapped. The last of the 30 entries was released in November 2018.


I have a memory of a high school phys ed teacher making us watch one of the early 90s editions of it. It's hard to overstate how popular this shit is/was.

I'm not a Hockey Person so I might be talking out my ass here, but isn't it the case that he's actually a failed hockey player? Like, he was never very good at it, which is why he's had to make a career out of peddling bigotry and furiously jerking off over the prospect of more hitting and more closed head injuries in minor hockey? So he's basically a walking billboard for white privilege clad in laughable suits that look like the sartorial expression of a severe concussion: "I'm not very smart and not very good at the thing I'm yelling about but people will still buy my shit!"

It goes without saying that he's probably completely unaware that tens of thousands of troops from India (to take one country of origin for the "immigrants" he hates as an example) died fighting the Axis.

I thought this was a pretty good comment:

maybe if y’all wanted the poppy to be a respected tradition you shouldn’t have cheapened and diminished it by slapping it on every highway, cop car, and ethno-nationalist dog whistle that you wanted to lend a patina of dignity

conservatives wrecked it; blame yourselves

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:30 PM on November 10, 2019 [20 favorites]


Maybe I'm alone, but I prefer to grieve in private. For all the lost lives, soldier and civilian, in the time I've spent on this earth. I plan to watch Schindler's List tomorrow, not because I enjoy it but because I hate it. I hate that humans are reduced to this: a commodity, counted and taxed out of existence.
posted by SPrintF at 5:33 PM on November 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


“Don Cherry is in the limelight yet again, this time

He’s got to be up to 14:55 or so by now, huh?


Downtown Toronto, forget it, downtown Toronto, nobody wears a poppy.

I have been doing walking tours in downtown Toronto the last couple of weeks. Almost every tour people are asking me about the poppies. But I am sure the imagination of an 85-year-old racist trumps reality.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:34 PM on November 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


I'm not a Hockey Person so I might be talking out my ass here, but isn't it the case that he's actually a failed hockey player?

He was a minor leaguer for like twenty years, so sort of, but then he became a professional hockey coach, eventually coaching the Boston Bruins for five years and to two Stanley Cup appearances (although not winning), and won Coach of the Year once. After the Bruins fired him, he coached the Rockies for a year but the league was already evolving away from his style of bully-hockey as more and more players were trying to emulate Wayne Gretzky's style of skilled play because that was the future, so Cherry jumped to broadcasting and never looked back, mostly because he couldn't afford to look back because if he did he would have been the dinosaur he already was.

Which is the proper way to view him: someone who knew how the game worked once, a long time ago, and never bothered to learn anything more. This applies to both hockey and life.
posted by mightygodking at 5:41 PM on November 10, 2019 [27 favorites]


the league was already evolving away from his style of bully-hockey as more and more players were trying to emulate Wayne Gretzky's style of skilled play because that was the future

Ah, that reminds me: to the extent I've been privy to his rants (in bars, relatives' houses, etc.), IIRC one of his things a serious hatred for the "European" style of play (i.e., less hitting, no fighting, more actual hockey) that also works on the level of coding men who play in European as somehow effeminate and therefore targets for his homophobia and misogyny. I guess all of that's to say that even for people who don't follow hockey, the guy's presence in the wider culture is kind of inescapable.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:50 PM on November 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


Don Cherry is a horrible asshole on all levels -- I have no idea who he appeals to, but the anglos I know all watch hockey in French to avoid him.

I am, however, fascinated at how many articles refer to buying poppies because I have spoken to people who give out poppies and it is very clear that they are not for sale and they get really offended when you refer to it as a purchase and not a free gift near a donation box.
posted by jeather at 5:51 PM on November 10, 2019 [7 favorites]


Cherry literally described himself as a [white] nationalist in a TV interview as far back as 1990. It's disgusting that he still has a highly-paid platform for his bigotry.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:08 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


A massive idiotstick of the worst sort, that unfortunately too many of my fellow Canadians share a sensibility with.

And, just to pile on a bit more, here is one of the worst coaching blunders in NHL history, one that most likely cost the Bruins the cup that year. That should have ended any relationship to the NHL he had.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 6:13 PM on November 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


Don Cherry should have been off the air for 20+ years now. He's like a compass that points south; everything he supports is almost without fail incorrect, from politics to how the sport should be played. I don't know who should replace him -- literally anybody would be better -- but I have a suggestion for in a few years once he's done playing.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


I've never understood Cherry or his appeal. He really has been out of touch with how Hockey is played for years, was obviously always a pure asshole and, well comments like this are hardly new.

I really don't understand why sportsnet didn't just quietly retire him. I really doubt anyone would have complained... and they had to know this or something similar was going to happen.
Beyond the fact that giving a shit like Cherry any amplification is obviously wrong.
posted by cirhosis at 6:51 PM on November 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I always took the advice of the local legion. You wear it on November 11th. They just want you to take one minute of one day to remember.

Anything more, it becomes more about you than them. It becomes nostalgia. And sentiment. That's not what they wanted.

Remembrance. Thoughtfulness. Gratitude.

Get on with your day. Enjoy what you have because they saved that for you.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 6:53 PM on November 10, 2019 [20 favorites]


For whatever it's worth: I (American, and a service vet) was at the Vancouver Fan Expo on Remembrance Day a couple years ago. The poppy pins were everywhere both downtown and in the convention center, and then the moment of silence came and the entire comic book convention stopped. The sole--notable--break in the silence came because some people were playing video game demos, for which they had probably stood on line and which I take for granted were pretty immersive, so there was an awkward moment where they kept playing until someone brought the moment to their attention. Other than that? Respectful silence.

And then everyone moved on.

I gotta say, that was far more moving, poignant, and meaningful than the sum total of all the Support The Troops!!! messaging that saturates the US.

I don't know this guy and he sounds like every other old white racist crank in this country, my one experience with Remembrance Day sure left a deep impression. I only wish we could emulate that here.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:04 PM on November 10, 2019 [24 favorites]


Ha idiot dinosaur Cherry is at it again, seriously f**k that guy, can't believe he's still on air. And f**k his idiot enabler, Cherry is a moron, but that other guy has no balls and spine.

He doesn't like Quebecers? Maybe somebody is a sore loser? (will never tire of watching that) Most probably he's a racist/xenophobic asshole on top of it.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:15 PM on November 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well shit. I had only heard of him because he popped up in Letterkenny a few times as “Don Cherry - the National Treasure who does animal rescue”. In Letterkenny terms, it seems like Jared Keeso keeps poor company with a degen from up north.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:30 PM on November 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


As a born and raised Montrealer that was never really into hockey, I never minded watching the Habs now and again with people that were fans (hard not to watch hockey socially here even if you don't like it, it's pretty universal) but from the time I was old enough to understand what an absolute dickbag he was, I'd walk out of the room whenever Cherry was on. I don't love commentators in general (honestly I'd rather just have Zamboni footage) but of all of them he was the worst. An ignorant loudmouth with zero taste or decorum and an outsized ego. He needs to be put out to pasture. In a time where American conservatives are pouring money into our country trying to influence our culture in the worst possible direction, we need this guy on TV like we need to re-open the abortion debate. He cannot be removed from the national consciousness fast enough.
posted by signsofrain at 8:29 PM on November 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


the sartorial expression of a severe concussion

I love this, it is just right.
posted by riverlife at 8:31 PM on November 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


For a while, here near the border, you could get CBC over the air, when it still had the Olympics and Hockey Night in Canada, so I'm familiar with Cherry. I had no idea that homophobic racist dude was still on TV.

I followed the Red Wings for several years in the 90s and aughts. My favorite player was Brendan Shanahan. I remember him telling a story about discussing politics in the locker room, all the other guys were going to vote for Bush jr., "Because it'll be good for their taxes." But with his working class background, he felt more in line with Dems.

Now when I look at (white) NHL players, all I can think of is, most of the American ones are probably trumpies, and the Canadians whatever that equivalent.

Plus, I'd rather watch Cherry's despised Euro-style hockey.

And yes, maybe I'm generalizing about NHL players. Which leads me to:

Ok boomer. 
___
Except Cherry was born during the depression (1935).


I was going to point that out (this Boomer says read your history & do your math). And it'd be great if Mefi could be free of the cutesy Twitter-trend boomer stereotyping.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:06 PM on November 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


I thought that there was a bit of a break a bunch of years back between CBC and Cherry? He's back?

In my circles growing up, by the time we were in our teens in the early 90s everyone understood that Cherry was a jackass. But yeah, he appeals to the racist old anglo folk, and maybe young kids for a while - except for the young kids who buy into it and turn into more racid old anglo folk.

Ron MacLean is totally complicit, but he's hiding behind the legendary Canadian politeness in not calling out improprieties. I think I've noticed him trying sometimes but it's always so milquetoast and deniable.
posted by porpoise at 9:17 PM on November 10, 2019 [3 favorites]




Boys in white Canada were easily the biggest demographic of Rock’em Sock’em Hockey, a powerful vehicle for Cherry’s messaging since the series’ introduction in 1989.

My brother played hockey in Thunder Bay in the mid-naughties and he described it as very much of the style of those tapes: tough-guy, enforcer-focused hockey played by white, English-speaking Canadians (mostly). I've seen a few episodes of Letterkenny and am not surprised to hear that Cherry is still a folk hero, of sorts. He's the anglo equivalent of the old racist Québécois lady yelling at the PM about de souche — they will always have an audience. The Cherrys and their French-Canadian equivalents will easily complain about identity politics and immigrants, while at the same time staking a claim on what they believe to be "true" (if entirely contradictory) identities.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:03 PM on November 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


'Get on with your day. Enjoy what you have because they saved that for you.'

But the thing is, they didn't. The poppy emerges out of World War I, which was about imperialist powers fighting over colonies. It was never about freedom, it was about business as usual for colonialism.

How the fuck this vile trope that is was for our freedom, in Canada, became established narrative is insane, because the people we sent as a country to this abomination did not deserve this, no one did. Not on any level whatsoever.

| sincerely wish that In Flanders Field would melt away, because it has done immense damage to the body politic, in it's call for total warfare(read the fucking thing all the way through), than any other poem ever written.

Can we have a minute of silence for all the victims of war, please?
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 1:19 AM on November 11, 2019 [20 favorites]


Ron MacLean nodding his head in approval and giving a thumbs-up to the anti-immigrant talk

Cherry's no surprise, but polite voice of reason Ron MacLean turning milkshake duck stings. I'd always taken him to be the antidote to Cherry.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:39 AM on November 11, 2019


@lottelydia:
I GENUINELY used 'a WW2 plane bombs the White Cliffs of Dover with poppies' in a seminar years ago as an imagined example of possible future bad-taste jingoism. I can't believe someone found my notes.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:38 AM on November 11, 2019


Don Cherry is always wrong. ALWAYS.

Don Cherry is an obnoxious nationalist who even opposes European immigrants even when it makes him terrible at his job.

He was the owner of the Mississauga Ice Dogs and during his ownership/management period they refused to sign any European players and consistently finished in the bottom of the league.

The fascinating part to me is that he lingers around even though the NHL has pretty much completely moved on from absolutely everything he stood for which was the ridiculously violent, smash-mouth, enforcer style of hockey that left hockey players broken and mangled for the rest of their lives. He was and probably still is a huge Marty McSorley fan (McSorely ended his career when he took a brutal two-handed stick swing at the back of another player's head knocking him out cold with a severe concussion.)

He opposed helmets. He opposed visors. He has opposed just about every single safety rule the NHL ever brought in. He is basically the conservative who cries the "moral hazard" wolf every single time somebody tries to improve anything.

I'm tempted to search and see what his opinions were on the Lindros brothers getting out before their brains where jellied by repeated concussions.

He has always been wrong about everything.

If you say you like Don Cherry or that his opinions are worthwhile I find it a very convenient heuristic for knowing that you're a person who is likely to be very consistently and obstinately wrong.
posted by srboisvert at 4:23 AM on November 11, 2019 [20 favorites]


I also stopped wearing poppies about 25 years ago because I don't respond well to social bullying which is what it has been for a long long time. I'll honor the sacrifices of WWI and WWII vets by opposing war instead of wearing a pin.
posted by srboisvert at 4:26 AM on November 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


I lost my third poppy yesterday and probably have officially given up, on the note of poppies. I'm an immigrant, but I'm white, so I will probably get away with being a jerk.

Rogers now owns HNIC and CBC just runs it (I think it was a 10 year deal) but I still wish I were vaguely surprised this morning that Don Cherry still has a job. I'm not, though. Hockey culture is toxic in so many ways - toxic masculinity, racism, rape culture, etc.

Go Raptors.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:06 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


| sincerely wish that In Flanders Field would melt away, because it has done immense damage to the body politic, in it's call for total warfare(read the fucking thing all the way through), than any other poem ever written.

I dunno about that...it's possible, but I think its insistence on the death part of war is good. When I was in school we studied it alongside Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est, though, so my teacher may have framed it fairly effectively.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:08 AM on November 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


Rogers now owns HNIC and CBC just runs it (I think it was a 10 year deal) but I still wish I were vaguely surprised this morning that Don Cherry still has a job.

I mean, surely there's some kind of clause where they can let him go if he does something egregious. That the latest in a series of offensive commentary does not meet that standard, sends a clear signal that they condone this behaviour and do not see it as wrong. It's very reflective of whatever leadership exists at the top and how they're sympathetic to these types of views.

I'm sure greed and ad revenue also has something to do with this decision to keep him on air, they must have done the calculus and determined even with the short-term negative press that it's worth keeping him on.

If a POC or a woman had said something similar in his position, they would have been fired like you wouldn't believe.

It's all so very telling. Fuck Don Cherry.
posted by Fizz at 5:12 AM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh I agree. I just think CBC would have been more likely to have fired him by now if his contract were with them directly.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:28 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ron MacLean issued his apology yesterday, for "not catching" what Don said up during the and for allowing Don's statement to go unchallenged: "Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory, which were flat-out wrong," MacLean said. " ... We know diversity is the strength of the country. We see it in the travels with our show and with Hockey Night in Canada. "So I owe you an apology, too. That's the big thing that I want to emphasize. I sat there, did not catch it, did not respond."

But as said upthread, it would be great if he would challenge Don more on-air instead of being the apologetic bystander.
posted by beaning at 6:23 AM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


We too did In Flanders Fields with Dulce et Decorum Est, I suspect a lot of schools match them up -- but then I had a significant number of Vietnam deserters as teachers.
posted by jeather at 6:38 AM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Shocking poppy theft in Australia.
posted by jeather at 6:46 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


I stopped listening to Don Cherry after his rant at Rob Ford's inauguration. I turn the sound off or change the channel during Coach's Corner.

As many people have pointed out, here and elsewhere, people fought and died so that we can have freedom. And that includes freedom to wear a poppy or not wear a poppy.

He needs to be removed from our nation's airwaves, immediately and permanently.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 7:48 AM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Don Cherry has been Canada’s Awkwardly Racist Uncle for decades now, so this doesn’t shock me at all.

However, seeing Ron MacLean sitting there nodding along is disappointing. Calling that chucklefuck on his bullshit ought to be what MacLean is there for.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 9:18 AM on November 11, 2019


In Letterkenny terms, it seems like Jared Keeso keeps poor company with a degen from up north.

First of all, Don Cherry is not from "Up North"... He's a degen from Eastern Ontario [from Kingston] (sorry my Northern Ontario hackles were up). Aside from the characters in Letterkenny being the type of Anglo Canadian to adore Cherry, Jared Keeso played Don Cherry in a miniseries about the shit head prior to Letterkenny. His brother also ran for the federal Tories in the last election (he lost to a brown man). Their prominent family owns the saw mill in Listowel (which is the town Letterkenny is based on) so I'm sure they are not strangers to a certain type of "old stock" Canadian conversation (FWIW they don't seem to share Cherry's views).

I mentioned in the previously linked above that I don't wear a poppy by intent and many of my Mennonite friends & relatives do not wear poppies for a variety of reasons. We're all white and with the exception of me none of them are dirty hippie pinkos and all except for me would consider themselves "good Christians." I'm gonna assume Cherry can't contemplate that.

As a settler who's family has been here for 300 years give or take (despite being a pinko hopefully that makes me "old stock" enough), I'll shout loudly that we are long past the time that we put the Don Cherrys of this country out to pasture. His type of BS has no place in Canada.

I also mentioned previously a story that a lot of Canadians may not be familiar with (it is certainly unsurprising that Cherry is unfamiliar with it) - the story of Pte Buckam Singh. Every year since his story was rediscovered there has been a service in the cemetery near my house in his honour and this year was no different.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:20 AM on November 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


I've been watching some old interviews with WWI veterans and they all say over and over: war is a waste and needs to be stopped. Nothing about 'unless you wear a poppy all that was a waste, lads'.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:12 AM on November 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also Don Cherry is a.pile of shite and has always been one on tv. He is the racist 20 mins that apparently the CBC feels like is an essentialpart of the ritual of hockey night in Canada.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:14 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Why he’s tolerated—no, loved—by so many Canadians

Economic anxiety.
posted by grouse at 11:23 AM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]




Don Cherry is an awful racist douchebag, but at least this is a chance to link to one of my favorite Propagandhi songs. Dear Coach's Corner.

Dear Ron MacLean. Dear Coach’s Corner. I’m writing in order for someone to explain to my niece the distinction between these mandatory pre-game group rites of submission and the rallies at Nuremburg. Specifically the function the ritual serves in conjunction with what everybody knows is in the end a kid’s game. I’m just appealing to your sense of fair play when I say she’s puzzled by the incessant pressure for her to not defy the collective will, and yellow ribboned lapels, as the soldiers inexplicably rappel down from the arena rafters (which, if not so insane, would be grounds for screaming laughter). Dear Ron MacLean, I wouldn’t bother with these questions if I didn’t sense some spiritual connection. We may not be the same but it’s not like we’re from different planets: we both love this game so much we can hardly fucking stand it. Alberta-born and prairie-raised. Seems like there ain’t a sheet of ice north of Fargo I ain’t played. From Penhold to the Gatineau, every fond memory of childhood that I know is somehow connected to the culture of this game. I can’t just let it go. But I guess it comes down to what kind of world you want to live in, and if diversity is disagreement, and disagreement is treason, well don’t be surprised if we find ourselves reaping a strange and bitter fruit that sad old man beside you keeps feeding to young minds as virtue. It takes a village to raise a child but just a flag to raze the children until they’re nothing more than ballast for fulfilling a madman’s dream of a paradise where complexity is reduced to black and white. How do I protect her from this cult of death?
posted by chbrooks at 11:43 AM on November 11, 2019 [11 favorites]


BREAKING- @CoachsCornerDC has been fired by @Sportsnet - story to come.

OMG FINALLY.
posted by aclevername at 12:01 PM on November 11, 2019


Wow! Well, it should have happened a long time ago, but late is better than never. Good riddance.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:08 PM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Just reading Etrigan's link to the "Breaking News" Twitter thread:

sin miedo @RodrigoBravo9
15m15 minutes ago
Replying to @joe_warmington @CoachsCornerDC @Sportsnet

So I’m just gonna say “ok boomer” here and you guys apply it when necessary to all the replies that need it


Ah ha ha ha ha
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:12 PM on November 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


Sportsnet's statement on Twitter

Whenever I hear about Don Cherry, I find myself surprised he's still around. He's well past his best-before date (and was probably rotten to begin with, to take the metaphor a little farther.)

Wonder who the replacement will be?
posted by invokeuse at 12:16 PM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Bye bye boomer
posted by saucysault at 12:16 PM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


I do not get why this was the thing he said that was finally a step too far but I'm glad he's gone whatever the reason is.
posted by jeather at 12:21 PM on November 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


He had to go and should have gone a long time ago. Polarizing, true. Rude, also true. Racist? He certainly comes across that way. That said, a little piece of me is sad - in a lot of ways he's the last of the golden age of hockey. Still, I'm not going to miss him.

I wonder how much of an outcry we're going to hear from the many who seem to adore him...
posted by ashbury at 12:30 PM on November 11, 2019


I look forward to the day when the only Don Cherry I think about is this one.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:33 PM on November 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Good riddance.
posted by Fizz at 12:44 PM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Deliciously ironic that he’s fired on Remembrance Day.
posted by New Frontier at 12:49 PM on November 11, 2019 [11 favorites]


There are a few "I am cancelling my SportsNet subscription right now" comments in the replies to that tweet, but I'mma gonna need to see receipts.

It strikes me that no team plays the game as Cherry described as the "proper" way. It would be more unwatchable than the Red Wings two-line trap of the bad old days. Glad he's gone, sorry it wasn't sooner.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:52 PM on November 11, 2019


In fairness to Don, I did enjoy that time he lambasted the All Lives Matter slogan. Of course, he was confused and thought he was going after "left-wing weirdos," but still.
posted by Epixonti at 1:15 PM on November 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


I will not miss him; I am not sad to see him go. I am surprised he stayed this long. I may actually tune in to HNIC next Saturday to see what they do during the first intermission.
posted by nubs at 1:26 PM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


(My dread is that he will now turn to politics)
posted by nubs at 1:27 PM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


This seems like it will prove to be sadly prescient:

wouldn't it be nice if that was the last we heard of him, instead of the beginning of a new, louder and even more lucrative career in racism

Want to bet that Racist Homunculus (aka Rex Murphy) will have him on his crappy YouTube channel in short order?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:49 PM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Or the Rebel
posted by nubs at 1:50 PM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Or the Rebel

Homunculus II, Nazi Boogaloo.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:01 PM on November 11, 2019


He's 85. It's long past ice floe time for Don.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:02 PM on November 11, 2019


So Cherry finally bombed. Let's take a moment to fondly remember Don and his contribution to the sport. God Bless Hocky!
posted by zaixfeep at 2:25 PM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Bye bye boomer

Cherry (born 1934) is a member of the "Silent Generation" rather than a Boomer.
posted by Mitheral at 2:38 PM on November 11, 2019


Cherry (born 1934) is a member of the "Silent Generation" rather than a Boomer.

I got (correctly) "OK boomer"'d by one of my kids over the weekend, and I was born in 1973. It's less about one's birth year than about one's attitude, and pretty much anything Cherry has said in this century is 100% "OK boomer"able.
posted by Etrigan at 2:59 PM on November 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Don Cherry was fired today.
posted by blob at 3:41 PM on November 11, 2019 [3 favorites]




People might have paywall issues with this, so here's an extended quote from this piece in the Toronto Star:

Dear Don Cherry: Here’s the other half of the poppy story. The part you missed

Whether you are a newcomer, or a member of a visible minority living in Canada, there’s a reasonable chance you or a family member, will one day be subjected to a random interrogation about your “cultural fit,” contribution, or even appearance — and not necessarily by a fellow citizen with more social cachet than you.

Such confrontations are easily found on social media these days. They can happen to anyone, anywhere: at a Lethbridge, Alta. Denny's, in a Richmond, B.C. parking lot, or in Jagmeet Singh’s case, outside a Montreal street market where the NDP leader and his wife were strolling recently.

Responding to these comments — usually streaming with profanity, and "go back to where you came from’s” — isn't always advisable. That tends to only fuel the situation while also tacitly acknowledging a social troll’s right to police “Canadian values.”

So one of the strategies people of colour learn early on is how to duck, deflect and defuse. It’s racism rope-a-dope 101, and it’s effective when being cornered by someone desperately seeking an altercation.

But sometimes you have little choice but to square up, especially when the volley is thrown by someone incentivized by one of Canada’s major media companies to play to the mob and who relishes any chance to punch down at his targets.

For too long that has been Don Cherry’s schtick. Rogers Sportsnet’s rock ’em sock ’em star of Coach’s Corner went on yet another hateful and misinformed bender on his national telecast Saturday night. This time, his target wasn’t climate activists, visor-wearing Europeans, socialists or turbaned Sikh veterans fighting for admission to a Royal Canadian Legion, but rather ungrateful immigrants not wearing poppies (or paying for them) in honour of Canadian soldiers who have “provided” the freedoms they enjoy.

[...]

His ignorant commentary insulted the legacies of countless veterans from non-Western countries — including India and Pakistan, from where many of Canada’s immigrants today hail — who fought in the First World War and Second World War to protect the bedrock of freedoms enshrined across the British Commonwealth — including in this country.

The facts are indisputable, but, unfortunately, in Canada’s eurocentric history curriculums, these acknowledgements are also not so easy to come by. In the First World War, Canada’s Expeditionary Force lost 61,000 men who made the ultimate sacrifice. But the dominion or colonial army that made the greatest contribution wasn’t from Canada — neither was it from Australia, New Zealand, nor South Africa. It was from India.

But due to the race politics of a century ago, the sacrifices of Indian combattants, half of whom were predominantly Sikh, and Muslim soldiers from the Punjab region, were airbrushed from most Western textbooks. Sadly, they were also omitted from Indian texts, given these soldiers fought on behalf of the Crown prior to independence. And so, for the past century, the stories of their gallantry have remained trapped in a historical no-man’s land between East and West.

Lost within this omission are numerous collaborations between Canadian troops and the Indian Army, including at the infamous Second Battle of Ypres in May 1915, where Canada’s volunteer army of “lumberjacks and farmers” endured their initiation to the war, their baptism by fire. Canada’s First Division and the Indian Army’s Lahore Division fought arm-in-arm to thwart the German offensive at this historic battle where Canadian surgeon John McRae penned In Flanders Fields.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:24 PM on November 11, 2019 [15 favorites]


Don Cherry’s Firing Was Overdue—but the Problems He Represented Remain
Organized hockey in North America is a fundamentally conservative institution, partially because its decision-making entities—the NHL and the TV networks that service it—are billion-dollar enterprises run by white men and are therefore vehemently attached to the status quo. Cherry’s career spanned the NHL’s expansion to the Southern and Western United States, the first wave of European players in North America, the popularization and professionalization of the women’s game, and the gradual evolution away from the gooned-up bloodfest of the 20th century to the fast-moving, almost fightless professional game we see today.

Cherry is far from the only influential hockey figure who not only refused to adapt but found it offensive that anyone would expect him to do so, and while his firing is a long overdue pleasant surprise, he is merely a symptom of the sport’s racist, sexist, and classist dysfunction, rather than its cause. [...]

Too many have looked the other way for too long as Cherry and others like him have used sports as a Trojan horse for nationalism and bigotry. But it’s hard to imagine that much will change in Cherry’s absence, because he was fired for being divisive. He should’ve been fired for being a bigot.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:06 PM on November 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


Can I be happy that Cherry is gone and that the CBC (and eventually the taxpayer) won't be (at least that's my assumption) on the hook for legal fees or payments because his contract is with Sportsnet? Because we all know he's going to launch legal proceedings citing wrongful termination and all sort of other claims in the hopes of either getting back on air or getting a big fat cheque.
posted by sardonyx at 7:46 PM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Deliciously ironic that he’s fired on Remembrance Day.

I'm sure that has to sting a little on the man's pride.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:46 PM on November 11, 2019


The author of “In Flanders Fields” was my next-door neighbour, ancestral speaking. He lived on the farm next door to my great-grandparents, and my grandma claimed to faintly recall Dr. McCrae from next door. I am a little skeptical; she would have been barely out of diapers when he left for the war.

That said, I am not so much with the wearing of the poppies because they are all tied up in a semiotic mess with a war fought for literally imperialist reasons and where an entire generation was wiped out for more or less nothing at all. Although the first verse gets all the attention these days, it was the triumphant third verse used during WWI for fundraising and recruitment:
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Indeed, John Prescott notes in the biography he wrote that while McCrae was resigned to having his surname misspelled regularly, “he was satisfied if the poem enabled men to see where their duty lay.”

Yeah, no.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:54 PM on November 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


At the high school I attended there were two or three years where the school-wide Remembrance Day assembly consisted primarily of a screening of Pink Floyd's "Good Bye Blue Sky." It was the work of the history teacher who talked a lot about his antiwar activism in class.

So, he was an OK boomer, no comma.

It was a helpful teenage inoculation against pro-war jingoism.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:32 PM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Fabricland files for bankruptcy after biggest customer fired from Coach's Corner [Beaverton, satire]

I always wondered where all those suits came from! [/sarcasm] I do genuinely wonder where they go, though.
posted by invokeuse at 9:34 PM on November 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


You (and The Beaverton, a good hearted homage to The Onion) joke, but Business booming at Dressew Supply after nearly six decades in Vancouver.

Yes, the movie/ tv (costume) indursty is propping them up, but.

Anyway, Fabricland is still classier in the prints that they carry than Cherry wears. Good riddance, and shame on everyone using "divisive" instead of bigoted or racist or degenerate.

Should have happened at least a decade or two ago.
posted by porpoise at 9:50 PM on November 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


I kept thinking the article referred to the jazz musician (who was also Neneh Cherry's stepfather), and got confused.
posted by acb at 2:01 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I always wondered where all those suits came from! [/sarcasm] I do genuinely wonder where they go, though.

My understanding is to a toxic waste facility near Temiskaming.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:44 AM on November 12, 2019


An online petition to have him reinstated has passed 60,000 signatures in 18 hours. I won't be surprised if it goes much higher.

He was voted the seventh-greatest Canadian, ahead of Alexander Graham Bell and John A. MacDonald.

More of his "greatest hits": Europeans and French guys, pinkos and left-wing kooks, wimps and creeps, not to mention women in locker rooms, climate cuckaloos, and former enforcers who became pukes and turncoats.

He is Canada's voice for "I'm not racist, but..."
posted by clawsoon at 5:45 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Incidentally, the article clawsoon links to above (at “Europeans and French guys,” etc.
HE KNOWS THE END WILL COME SOMEDAY. Maybe someday soon. Maybe tonight. He is pushing, pushing, pushing the limits too far, saying too much.
The article is datelined 1993. Ahem.

I suspect HNIC will buckle and reinstate him. Then, tragically, the legions of True Fans who have vowed to boycott HNIC will not have their resolve tested.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:01 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I can't see them buckling. He's expensive (I'm guessing). You never can tell when something appalling is going to fall out of his mouth though you know it's going to happen fairly regularly. And people aren't tuning into HNIC to see Cherry; noise about boycotts are totally farcical and Sportsnet knows the people signing the petition aren't going to stop watching hockey. Besides statistically speaking he is likely to die in the next five years; going to bat for him is something that has a very limited payback period.
posted by Mitheral at 7:44 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I suspect HNIC will buckle and reinstate him.

I'm worried about that too, but this time feels different...the NHL and Hockey Canada have spoken out about Cherry's comments; the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has been overwhelmed with complaints; and my local CBC radio had someone on this morning to help explain the coding of the phrase "you people", because some of us white Canadians don't understand it.

Business wise, it also doesn't make sense to bring him back - at a time when they need to grow viewership and revenues, bringing back an old, expensive racist doesn't make business sense to me.
posted by nubs at 7:59 AM on November 12, 2019


Man who kept government job for 33 years only lasts 5 years in private sector; online activists try to force company to re-hire him
posted by clawsoon at 8:19 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


I gave up on Don Cherry decades ago. He's a loudmouth boor, and I don't need that in my life.

But then whatever the latest controversy was would die down, and I'd get into this benign apathy towards him, in the sense of 'Oh, he's still at that, huh?'.

This past Hallowe'en, my nephew went trick or treating in a different Mississauga neighbourhood, and somehow he ended up on Don Cherry's doorstep. The kid is a huge fan, watching Don is part of the kid's Saturday night ritual, even though he has no real idea what Don's saying most of the time. The kid can't take his bedtime shower until after he's seen Don.

So Don sits on his porch, taking time for photos with all the kids, and handing out full size chocolate bars. Don's sons are managing the flow of kids, it's just something they do. My nephew is over the Moon. His tiny mind is blown. I'm messaged a picture of my beaming nephew with Don Cherry behind him, and I think "Wow, that's a really great costume! That really looks like Don Cherry!" The nephew corrects me. He's on a cloud to have met Don Cherry in real life.

My benign apathy rises again. Yeah, Don's a loudmouth boor, but he's good to the kids, so.

And then on Saturday, Don spouts casual racism to those same kids.

And fuck that guy.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


You know who else loved kids?
posted by No Robots at 9:27 AM on November 12, 2019


A good Twitter thread from @hockeyhijabi:
I wasn't expecting Sportsnet to fire him over this. I truly believe it was a fireable offence, but my expectation of the hockey community, my expectation of the sport I love, is that it will disappoint me when it comes to questions of my identity, and where I belong.
This is the same league that in the year 2018 hired rapper-slash-rocker-slash-racist Kid Rock to perform at the All Star Game. The same league where one of the flagship teams, the Boston Bruins, partnered with full time sexist harassment / part time sports website Barstool during the Stanley Cup finals. The same league that won't support women's hockey, even though it has the best damn rivalry in any sport on the planet.

Hockey can be fun, and it's great that the sport is getting safer and the goon age is over. I'd like to be a fan, but it's just so damn depressing so much of the time.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:51 AM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


In the irony department, I'm loving the tweets/messages in defense of Cherry that state that all Canadians must wear a poppy to honour the freedom that the soldiers fought for. Because having that freedom means we must do as we're told, I guess.

I might never wear a poppy again.
posted by nubs at 10:01 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ugh. Now my facebook feed is full of idiots posting in support of Don Cherry. Sadly I am related to many of those idiots. Crap like "he was only speaking the truth" and re-posting of Canada Proud bullshit. Every last person posting this stuff lives in a rural, almost all-white area.

I really should get off facebook.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:42 AM on November 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


I haven't watched a hockey game in a very long time but from what I remember Coach's Corner was just there to fill the time between the 1st and 2nd periods. There isn't enough time to watch another show so maybe if there's another game on you'll watch that for 15 minutes. But really that's the time to go to the washroom, make snacks and whatever else you need to do. Does the presence or absence of Don Cherry change that?

My wife is doing teacher training and last week she was doing some art activity with her class. She was asking me for ideas on how to thematically connect Remembrance Day with a book they'd be reading about peace (she isn't from Canada). I suggested that she just try to connect the pictures in the book to what art they'd be making because I didn't see a thematic fit. She still pushed and then I had to explain that as far as I'm concerned peace has nothing to do with the holiday and recited In Flanders Fields with particular emphasis on the final lines.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:46 AM on November 12, 2019


I was thinking about the phrase "honest graft", and it occurred to me that Don Cherry is the preeminent Canadian exponent of "honest violence". If you beat somebody up in a fair fight, that should give you some power over them. If you're afraid to fight, or afraid to fight "fair", you don't deserve power.
posted by clawsoon at 10:59 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


My belief is that this was the final straw rather than the sole factor. How much time and energy does Rogers Sportsnet want to spend on an 84 yr who's OK with fighting in the CTE era, disdained non-Canadian hockey players while the NHL schedules regular-season games abroad, mangled players' names regardless of national origin, and then been further wrong on their stats?
posted by beaning at 11:11 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


There isn't enough time to watch another show so maybe if there's another game on you'll watch that for 15 minutes. But really that's the time to go to the washroom, make snacks and whatever else you need to do. Does the presence or absence of Don Cherry change that?

To a certain extent, whatever they do between periods is a time filler - Coach's Corner, some talking head panel, an interview, etc. But that time can be informative/useful if they want it to be; have someone on who can break down a play or two, in terms of player roles & responsibilities, for example. Or use it to show how hockey can build community or something more constructive than the old guard defending a style of game that is past & a country that never was the way they imagine it.

Hell, even 15 minutes of Tim Horton's ads would be better.
posted by nubs at 11:14 AM on November 12, 2019


I think that Coach's Corner was used to define and defend a pugilistic version of Canada. For many people, that's what made hockey important and worthwhile; it says something about "who we are as Canadians" for a subset of Canadians. You're not watching hockey for entertainment, you're watching hockey to Keep The Faith, and Don Cherry was the high priest of that faith.
posted by clawsoon at 11:18 AM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Well you're definitely watching HNIC to keep the faith because it has been generations since the Leafs have lifted the cup. We'll eventually be trotting out senior citizen "veterans" of the 1967 Championship parade for another kind of Remembrance Day.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:36 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am embarrassed to admit that up until a couple of days ago I was wondering why the guy who did "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" was being such a racist dick.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:32 PM on November 12, 2019


I was glad that my statement to my partner after seeing the kerfuffle on Twitter on Saturday that this time the outrage was going to finally stick and he was going to get canned was true. Fuck Don Cherry.

I don't wear a poppy anymore because of how much it is associated with this jingoistic nationalism (not to mention wasteful plastic) but I do still chuck a couple bucks in the poppy fund anyway because it supports important programs (and I'm from a forces family - dad, maternal grandfather, now my cousin's husband). But really, wearing a poppy is fundamentally a pretty half-assed thing to do to support veterans.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:43 PM on November 12, 2019


Refugee group's poppy project lands amid Cherry bombshell

tl,dr version - Ottawa group that works with refugees spent some time last week asking them about why they wear the poppy, and started sharing the answers yesterday. Worth it for this:

Taylor said the group had to explain the controversy to many of their clients. "A lot of the newcomers we talk to are very recent arrivals, some have English as a first language, but they're not hanging out on Twitter or watching Hockey Night in Canada," she said. "We did a briefing on what it all is and why everybody is talking about it. They were pretty shocked. It's hard to explain Don Cherry to anybody, let alone someone who's just arrived in Canada."
posted by nubs at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2019


It's hard to explain Don Cherry to anybody, let alone someone who's just arrived in Canada."

Not only hard to explain, but embarrassing.
posted by Fizz at 2:11 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


It's hard to explain Don Cherry to anybody, let alone someone who's just arrived in Canada."

It's easy, he's a perfectly preserved specimen of the average Canadian hockey fan circa 1976.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:32 PM on November 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


In the irony department, I'm loving the tweets/messages in defense of Cherry that state that all Canadians must wear a poppy to honour the freedom that the soldiers fought for. Because having that freedom means we must do as we're told, I guess.

Overnight between the eleventh and the twelfth, the Cenotaph at Toronto's Old City Hall was vandalized with the words YE BROKE FAITH, a fairly transparent allusion to the third verse of "In Flanders Fields."

The irony is well represented in news stories on this as well; by my count a significant minority -- say, 15% -- of comments demand that national monuments should all be monitored by CCTV 24 hours a day and/or guarded by armed police officers at all hours; again, hallmarks of a free society.

The largest portion of the comments, of course, is the denouncement of "mindless vandalism." Naturally, mindless vandals are all mad for First World War verse. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a scrawled tag messily sprayed beneath a stanza from Rupert Brooke or a Wilfrid Owen quatrain.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:47 PM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Saw on the news tonight that Cherry now is apologizing - somebody has landed an interview with him, in which he says he would have apologized on air if they hadn’t fired him, that he’s sorry if “anyone was offended” by his comments.

Don, that’s not an apology. Try “my comments were offensive”.
posted by nubs at 5:55 PM on November 12, 2019


And, of course, yesterday Cherry was standing by his comments, so it feels like some kind of set up for the “I said I was sorry and still got cancelled; why is everyone so sensitive” play that comes next.
posted by nubs at 5:58 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


My nephew -- the same one I mentioned the other day, who had four of his teeth smashed during a pick-up hockey game and played through it -- just posted a YouTube link to some Don Cherry "highlights" on his Facebook page with the comment, "It only took 35 years but the pinko’s [sic] got him. For now at least." One of my foster sisters has been posting laments about how "Canada isn't Canada anymore", and some of those "Don Cherry for PM" memes.

I did what I always do when my conservative family acts the way they do on Facebook: posted a link to some sort of thoughtful, in-depth counterpoint to their viewpoint on my own page (in this case the Vice article linked to in this FPP), and hoped that they'll see, read it, and maybe learn something.
posted by orange swan at 6:01 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I read this ("Making Don Cherry a martyr for the ignorant is a bad idea") and second guessed the firing.

Then I saw him on a clip on Tucker (ffs!) and didn't feel so bad. But as I watched I felt… sorry for him? He is so simple, but he's not evil like Tucker.
posted by mazola at 6:19 PM on November 12, 2019


The largest portion of the comments, of course, is the denouncement of "mindless vandalism." Naturally, mindless vandals are all mad for First World War verse. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a scrawled tag messily sprayed beneath a stanza from Rupert Brooke or a Wilfrid Owen quatrain.

Don't get them started on the Boer War.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:42 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Are people somehow thinking poppies are a pro-imperialist symbol?

"He was voted the seventh-greatest Canadian, ahead of Alexander Graham Bell and John A. MacDonald."

Uhhhhhh....
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:57 PM on November 12, 2019


I read this ("Making Don Cherry a martyr for the ignorant is a bad idea") and second guessed the firing.

Hockey and Canada are intertwined and, to the extent I grew up in that in the 80s and 90s, even as a gay kid, Cherry was a part of that, culturally. An important takeaway in that article IMO really boils down to apologizing as a sign of weakness. And men can't apologize without looking weak. Weakness is worse than death. Especially in Canada and Canadian hockey culture. So tough men don't apologize. Canadian tough men don't apologize. Even when they are wrong. It's a pride parade of a different kind, or a parade of proudness, and inimitably toxic in its uniquely Canadian way.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:19 PM on November 12, 2019 [9 favorites]


The petition to have him reinstated is now over 160,000.
posted by clawsoon at 4:03 AM on November 13, 2019


Saw on the news tonight that Cherry now is apologizing - somebody has landed an interview with him, in which he says he would have apologized on air if they hadn’t fired him, that he’s sorry if “anyone was offended” by his comments.

Here's that interview, if anyone is interested. Other statements he makes:
-the silent majority agrees with him;
-that if he had a chance to be on the air again on Saturday, he could have said "everybody" instead of "you people";
-he offered to apologize, but Sportsnet wanted more than that;
-he's disappointed in MacLean.
posted by nubs at 7:52 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


There's a pithy aphorism going around Twitter now (though I can't quite pin down the origin; perhaps multiple originators?) that goes something like: "The problem with Canada is not that we're a nation of Don Cherrys. It's that we're a nation of Ron MacLeans."
posted by mhum at 11:33 AM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


"The problem with Canada is not that we're a nation of Don Cherrys. It's that we're a nation of Ron MacLeans."

That's perfect for everybody, whether you think the problem with Ron McLean is that he didn't call out Cherry in the first place, or that the problem is that he apologized afterwards.
posted by clawsoon at 1:28 PM on November 13, 2019


Since my father and grandparents are/were Finnish immigrants to Canada, Alpo Suhonen's comments are pretty interesting to me:

What really bothers Alpo Suhonen, after all these years, is how little Don Cherry seemed to actually know about the game. “He knew fighting and he knew checking, but he didn’t know hockey,” Suhonen, a legendary European coach, said Tuesday. “He didn’t have any idea about skills or tactics or anything like that.”

Thirty years ago, when Cherry first teed off on Suhonen, the Finnish legend had no idea who Cherry was. Suhonen was newly arrived in Canada at the time. He was coaching the Winnipeg Jets farm team in Moncton, N.B., one of the first European coaches to ever hold a role at that level in North American hockey.

He hadn’t been there much more than a month when Cherry appeared on TV, this loud man in a loud suit, comparing him to something an animal might eat. “Why did they bring a Finn over to coach Moncton?” Cherry said, according to reports at the time. “Wasn’t a Canadian good enough? … I don’t wish him well in Moncton. What’s his name, Alpo? Sounds like dog food to me.”

At first, Suhonen was baffled. “I didn’t really find it funny,” he said. He didn’t know Cherry. He didn’t know anything about him or why he might wish him ill. “Then, later, I got to know him more,” Suhonen said this week. “I found him to be a nationalistic, chauvinistic, narcissistic, toxic man. … I know a lot of Canadians love his style, but his opinions about Europeans and their hockey, and the style he’s speaking, I find it very narrow-minded.”

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:38 PM on November 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


clawsoon: That's perfect for everybody, whether you think the problem with Ron McLean is that he didn't call out Cherry in the first place, or that the problem is that he apologized afterwards.

Oh man. I didn't even think of that. However, for what it's worth, every time I've seen it pop up on Twitter, it seems like it was the former rather than the latter interpretation. I.e.: Canadians aren't mostly loudmouth racists, but we sure do cut those who are a lot of slack.
posted by mhum at 4:38 PM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


That's nice... Some Russians offered him a job: Don Cherry offered job by Russian hockey team to 'talk whatever he thinks'.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:22 PM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Can we have a minute of silence for all the victims of war, please?"

Yep, as far as I know that's all the legion members were asking for.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 10:50 PM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


And there's now a Don Cherry related, coordinated campaign to get a woman fired, because Gamergate never ends.
posted by Yowser at 3:03 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Misogyny never ends, and it will be strong with the followers of Cherry.

I personally hope that they replace Coaches Corner with Haley Wickenheiser and/or Caroline Ouellette or similar. Instead, they'll probably go with Brian Burke, who I am conflicted about.
posted by nubs at 8:35 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Just came across my first FB posting from some page called 'Boycott Sportnet Until Don Cherry is Rehired!'

So apparently, there are people who will not watch hockey until Don is back. That's, uh, a pretty bold stance. (*cough*)
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:59 PM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


In case anyone was wavering on whether Cherry had a minor transgression or was always a xenophobic bigot here's a short clip of an interview with Eric Malling from 1990. It's scary how much he instantly reminds me of someone current in this clip.
posted by Mitheral at 10:30 PM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


nubs: I personally hope that they replace Coaches Corner with Haley Wickenheiser and/or Caroline Ouellette or similar.

I hope they do that as the third or fourth person they try, because the first couple of people are going to face a tidal wave of hate that they won't be able to overcome no matter how amazing they are.
posted by clawsoon at 4:31 AM on November 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


"...no matter how amazing they are."

I would pay real cash money to have Don Cherry replaced by Pinball Clemons. And to those who'd say hockey is not Pinball's sport, I say "What does that matter? He's Pinball."

posted by Capt. Renault at 8:50 AM on November 15, 2019


And to those who'd say hockey is not Pinball's sport, I say "What does that matter? He's Pinball."

There was one hockey person who half-suggested that hockey wasn't Don Cherry's sport either. Beyond bodychecking and fighting, how much of the game does he really understand? When was the last time that Cherry broke down a play in a useful way?
posted by clawsoon at 9:14 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh my god, Mitheral, that interview. It’s really horrendous.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:08 AM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]




Somebody up thread mentioned Rex Murphy, and here he is: Shame on you, Sportsnet (CAUTION: I read the first two paragraphs, threw up a little in my mouth. Haven't gone farther.)

As a palate cleanser: Don Cherry was an unchanging man in a changing world. Finally, the world caught him out.

(It feels like more ink has been spilt on this than on any issue during the election. I feel like we came close to having a bit of a reckoning with the culture of hockey, both the good and the bad, in this country, and yet by tomorrow night when Coach's Corner is replaced, we somehow haven't really had a conversation about anything and that nothing has really changed)
posted by nubs at 2:35 PM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


As a followup to the graffiti on the cenotaph above, Toronto Police have arrested Thomas Zaugg, 33, on two counts of mischief. Zaugg himself posted a lengthy let's-not-call-it-a manifesto on his facebook page on Wednesday about his rationale for doing so. He has also thoughtfully lived a life that is a gift to angry commenters online: a former member of the Occupy movement, he now produces Rebel Media/Fox News-friendly copy such as "[t]his cancel culture has gotten out of hand and I fear it is the beachhead for a cultural shift into an authoritarian communist state."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:05 PM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


a former member of the Occupy movement, he now produces Rebel Media/Fox News-friendly copy

I bet someone at a rally disagreed with him once.
posted by clawsoon at 4:15 PM on November 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


Life Coach's Corner
posted by clawsoon at 5:03 PM on November 18, 2019


Man, you gotta love it when one of the punchlines in a sketch becomes reality: Don Cherry launches new podcast
posted by nubs at 12:26 PM on November 19, 2019


As serious allegations against a coach currently in the game build: If hockey is for everyone, those in power need to listen.

I kind of feel like the end of the Don Cherry era is maybe part of why some of this is coming to light now. And it certainly makes me wonder about how Jessica Allen is feeling as the story about Bill Peters and some of Babcock's behavior comes out.
posted by nubs at 10:57 AM on November 27, 2019


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