The 85-year-old said on Coach’s Corner last night, as part of Hockey Night in Canada, that he rarely sees people, he believes are immigrants, wearing poppies to honour fallen Canadian soldiers.
It prompted a swift backlash online. Don Cherry himself has not responded following what some say were anti-immigrant remarks, but Sportsnet is apologizing.
The president wrote: “Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network. We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”
The NHL says “Hockey is at its best when it brings people together. The comments made last night were offensive and contrary to the values we believe in.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says: “For Don Cherry to say that you people do not respect Canada or our veterans is despicable. We’re proud of diverse cultural heritage and we’ll always stand up for it. New immigrants enrich our country for the better. We’re all Canadians and wear our poppies proudly.”
Finally, Ontario’s NDP leader says “Canadians are Canadians. Canadians from all backgrounds have served in our military from confederation to today and we remember them. All over Ontario, I see poppies over hearts grateful for the profound sacrifice of all those who gave everything.”