Don Cherry will no longer appear on Canada’s No. 1 sports network after referring to immigrants as “you people.”
Sportsnet announced Monday the “Hockey Night in Canada” personality stepped down after making “divisive” remarks about immigrants not wearing red poppy pins to honor Canadian soldiers for Remembrance Day, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Cherry’s comments don’t ‘represent our values,’ Sportsnet says
Cherry’s comments were made during a broadcast Saturday during his weekly Coach’s Corner segment, CBC reported. His complaint came about because he said he rarely saw people he believed to be immigrants wearing red poppy pins.
“You people … 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,” Cherry said, CBC reported. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
The red poppy was the native plant along the Western Front during World War I, according to the Canadian War Museum’s website. The Great War Veterans’ Association adopted the poppy as a symbol of remembrance in 1921. The pin is won on the left side, close to the heart as a symbol of the sacrifice of soldiers, the museum’s website said.
Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley said in a statement sports should bring people together, not divide them.
“It has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” Yabsley said. “During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.”
The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council’s website was overloaded with so many online complaints about Cherry that the section of its website receiving complaints shut down.
CNN has reached out to Cherry but has not heard back.
Cherry was voted the seventh greatest Canadian in 2004
Cherry, 85, is “synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years,” Yabsley said.
Cherry played 16 seasons in the minor league beginning in 1954 and retiring twice in 1969 and in the early 1970s, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia. He became a coach in 1972 and joined the Boston Bruins in 1974. Cherry won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 1976.
He began hosting radio and TV programs in 1980, the encyclopedia said.
In 2004, Cherry placed seventh in the nationwide contest “The Greatest Canadian,” the encyclopedia said.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.