Canadian hockey icon and longtime commentator Don Cherry has been fired by Sportsnet, after the 85-year-old suggested in an on-air rant over the weekend that the country's immigrants do not pay proper tribute to fallen soldiers.
What are the details?
ESPN reported Cherry was criticizing "individuals who didn't wear poppy pins leading up to the nation's Remembrance Day," noting that "the pins are worn to symbolically honor those who served."
"I live in Mississauga [Ontario]. Very few people wear the poppy," Cherry said, during the Saturday night broadcast. "Downtown Toronto, forget it. Nobody wears the poppy...Now you go to the small cities. You people...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 for that."
The backlash over Cherry's comments was quick and fierce. CTV, Canada's main news network, reported that so many complaints rolled in over the commentator's remarks that the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council could no longer accept formal complaints, The Boston Globe reported.
By Monday, word got out that Cherry was fired. Sportsnet released a statement saying, "Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night's broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do no represent our values or what we stand for."
The network added, "Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years. We would like to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada."
Bloomberg reported that Cherry is a retired professional hockey player and coach, who has "co-hosted 'Coach's Corner' during Hockey Night in Canada for decades and had become a Canadian icon known for his eccentric suits and brash personality."
The 85-year-old stands by his comments. Cherry told the Toronto Sun, "I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers."
RebelNews has circulated an online petition in support of Cherry. As of this writing, it had garnered more than 22,000 signatures.