Let me make something clear, I don't agree with what Don said. I think he was wrong to single out immigrants but there is no denying his heart was in the right place when he said it. Everyone in Canada should wear a poppy to support our veterans, it's the least we can do to thank them for their service. It's sad that this important message has been lost with the addition of one stupid sentence. Don was wrong, plain and simple. He has been wrong about a lot of things in the 30 years I have been watching him, I'm wrong a lot too, so I try not to judge. I regularly disagree with him about hockey and politics but I always find him entertaining and I am always moved by his tributes to fallen hockey players, service men and women and our soldiers. Even though I disagree with a lot of his opinions, I was always grateful he was on my TV entertaining me.
By starting his sentence with the phrase "you people" he started his message with a trigger phrase. Everybody's ears perked up at the possibilities those words were leading to. If he followed it up by saying "you people who were born and raised here should be ashamed if you don't buy a poppy" there is no problem. Unfortunately, he is an 85 year old stubborn man with some conservative views so he he followed up the "you people" with a "you come here" Oooops! That was the straw the haters were waiting for. Don has offended everybody over the years, but the super sensitive people have discoverd that they hold all the power these days through social media. This was the opportunity they were waiting for, time to make an example out of sombody who thinks differntly than they do. Social media blew up Sunday morning with people demanding Sportsnet make an example out of Don.
The interesting thing I noticed in my social media feed was several immigrant friends were defending Don's right to be wrong and several white people who don't watch hockey were screaming that he needs to be fired for his remarks. I will use my mother and my brother in law as examples, They were both born and raised in Canada and neither of them watch hockey. If it is on at a family event, they will make a comment about hating Don during coaches corner, but I don't think either of them have ever watched an entire segment to learn what Don is actually about. That didn't stop either of them from posting their opinion that he should be fired all over social media. It should be noted that there is nothing they both like more than virtue signalling on facebook, they want everybody to know how progressive they are. They weren't gonna miss an opportunity to weild this new found power on someone who offends them, someone who thinks and votes differently than they do. I don't understand why their opinion about a broadcast they don't watch matters to anybody. They haven't been watching Don get things wrong for 30 years, they shouldn't have a voice in this debate. If immigrants were calling for Don to be fired, I would be saying they had to fire him, if hockey fans were offended, I would be saying he should be fired. But he should not be fired because people who don't watch, don't like him. That is just ridiculous.
If you are a hockey fan, you have seen the following situation develop several times in your life. You are gathered with friends or family to watch the game on Saturday night, the volume is down so you can carry a conversation and when coaches corner comes on, somebody says, "turn it up, I want to hear what Don has to say." You are trying to listen to Don and someone that doesn't watch hockey says, "I hate Don Cherry". Maybe it's your wife, or your mom, or your annoying brother in law who hates hockey. The point is, they don't watch the games and they don't watch coaches corner but it was easy for them to develop an opinion of Don because he is loud, he is obnoxious, he dresses outragrously and the hockey fans in their lives tune them out for 7 minutes every Sat night during hockey season to hear what Don has to say.
Now picture this same person reading a transcript of what Don said. The transcript didn't start with his promotion of Max Domi's book to raise money for juvenile diabetes or with his tribute to the 2 young kids in Nova Scotia who passed away. The transcript starts with "You people". Trigger words to be sure. He was dumb enough to follow it up with "You come here" and now the Don Cherry haters see their opportunity. They know we live in an unforgiving cancel culture that caters to the easily offended, so they take to social media to demand changes to a show they don't watch. You can't tell me that is not a real scenario. I guarantee this happened all accross Canada. It wasn't new Canadians being offended by what Don said, it was Canadians who hate hockey. Sportsnet capitulated to the pressures of social justice warriors. Half the people who watch coaches corner just laugh at Don and realize he is an out of touch, loveable asshole. Ron Maclean doesn't become the national treasure he is without sitting beside and asshole like Don. Sportsnet had a knee/jerk reaction to an online witch hunt that was probably organized by people who don't watch Hockey Night in Canada, they will regret this decision for years. They have nobody to replace him and by taking him away from us unceremoniously they have guaranteed that whoever steps into that time slot will be compared (unfavourably) to Don Cherry and hockey fans will reject anybody that tries....ask Strombo how his career is going since he tried to replace Ron Maclean .
In fact, let's look at Strombo as an example. He is a nice guy, and a responsible broadcaster but when CBC went and replaced the loveable legends Don and Ron with Strombo, Canadian hockey fans wanted someone more entertaining so they had to fire Strombo and bring back Ron and Don. They gave into the fans that support their program. By firing Don this time, they were not giving into their fans, they were giving in to social media pressure. One day sportsnet will realize they gave into pressure from people who don't watch hockey and they will regret this decision within a year, Canada will regret it within a decade but Don is 85 years old, chances are he will never hear Canada say sorry for throwing him under the bus to relieve the pressure that the easily offended people were applying.
For everything Don got wrong over the years, it cannot be denied that he did a lot of good. He dedicated air time to trying to improve player safety, constantly arguing for better equipment and rule changes like no touch icing that will lead to players being safer on the ice. He used his valuable air time to fight the instigator rule because he believes it leads to players taking liberties with the league's superstars. He was single handely responsible for the glass on the partition beside the bench being angled upward and covered with padding to eliminate players getting hurt in the most dangerous spot on the ice. One day the NHL will adopt the no touch icing and some of the other rule changes Don has been screaming about for years. He was ahead of his time when it came to player safety, the players know this and love and respect him for it.
He was only given a short time between periods to talk about the game but he always found time to promote player safety and to shed light on a fallen Canadian hero. From the young hockey players battling diseases they shouldn't even know about to the older beer league players who suffered heart attacks while playing the game we all love, Don paid tribute to them all because he knew how much it would mean to them. It wasn't just hockey players, he took time out of his show to pay tribute to all of Canada's fallen heros, all our service men and women of the police and fire departments, and especially our Canadian troops. His annual tribute to our fallen soldiers always choked me up and made me think of the sacrifices they made for us.
The most heartbreaking aspect of all of this is that it went down on Rememberance day. A day Don never let us forget. It is not lost on me that in all the outrage over the phrase, "you people, you come here" his message of rememberance has been forgotten along with all the good he did over the years.
I would like to take a moment to thank all the people who don't watch hockey but took the time to develop an uninformed opinion of a man that doesn't affect their lives in anyway. I want to thank them for taking time out of their busy social media lives to spend a few moments encouraging sportsnet to dramatically alter a program they don't even watch. It doesn't matter to them that he did a lot of good for this country over they years, they heard a phrase they disagreed with and they decided to use their super social media powers to get rid of that loud guy they have to see on TV once in a while (instead of leaving the room or changing the channel). I guess it makes them feel important to know they have the power to change programs they don't even watch, but in giving them this power, sportsnet has also given them the ability to decide what I can and cannot watch. They have decided that because they can't handle hearing an opinion that differs from theirs, nobody else should have to hear it. Because they are sensitive to words, they assume we all are. In assuming immigrants will be offended by what Don said, they have taken away the right for the immigrants to make that decision for themselves. That's offensive. I know I am capable of hearing an opinion I disagree with, without having to take away somebody right to say it. If I am truly bothered by it, I know how to change the channel, hit mute or leave the room. What bothers me about this situation is that the people who complained, never actually tune in anyway, their opinions should not matter at all, but sportsnet has decided they matter more than the fans. That is short term thinking that will hurt their rating for years to come.
It was probably time for Don to retire a couple years ago, he's always got things wrong, but the game is faster and changing at a pace he had trouble undestanding. He probably likes to go out this way, as a martyr, but by doing it this way, Sportsnet robbed our country of a special ceremony where hockey fans would one day get to show our appreciation for someone who dedicated his life to the sport we love. The idiots who were complaining about what he said weren't going to watch the show anyway, but now they are the ones who determine what the rest of us watch? One day we will look back at this time in history and collectively hang our heads in shame.
#sportsnet #CBC #doncherry
After all the great tributes Don gave to hockey players old and young and all the service men and women he never failed to remember.....after watching the way Canada turned on one of our own, I thought somebody needed to do a tribute video for Don.