Don Cherry has always been a blow hard advocating violence on the ice while goading groups against one another whether it be the Players Association versus the NHL, Swedes vs Canadians, fighters versus non-fighters or referees versus players. It’s what Canadians have apparently wanted due to the ratings on Hockey Night In Canada’s first intermission for three decades. I for one have always seen Don Cherry for what he is and that is a personality looking to bait fans from a pulpit that has always frankly been in place for him due to questionable decisions on every occasion when it’s time for executives to renew his contract. Politicizing the game of hockey on a Saturday night or talking player contracts when sitting in front of the TV with family has never made any sense to me. In spite of my admiration for Ron McLean he has always operated as a fuel hose for Don during the HNIC segment which in and of itself seemed dysfunctional. Am I surprised that Ron has been caught in the crossfire? No. He appeared to be nodding as usual while Cherry ranted about poppies and “you people” in spite of what I believe is not actually what’s in Ron’s heart. Frankly, this is what media executives should expect when ratings and a populous perception of a personality become superimposing variables in personnel decision making.
Now to the words themselves. Don Cherry believed in what he was saying. He believes that people on the streets of Mississauga are not wearing poppies like they used to and it’s obvious that the ethnicity of Mississauga and downtown Toronto has changed immensely over the decades because of immigration. I don’t think he’s wrong in what he’s said in reference to the prevalence of poppies given my experience in North East Calgary. I also believe that with every passing generation, memories will fade and the sense of sacrifice of WWI and WWII veterans will lessen irrespective of skin color. I absolutely witness forgetfulness in government policy particularly with respect to the infringement on freedom via tax and regulatory policy. Referencing people as “you people” is not politically correct and could be viewed as racist. The reference is distasteful as is his character which I came to perceive early on in his days as a commentator in stark contrast to the viewpoint of so many white men. This is his schtick pitting people up against each other. This is an 85 year old man with a limited time spot in order to articulate a message in which HNIC executives unfortunately have condoned simply by renewing his contract and having experience with his history for brashness and off-ice faceoffs. However; I still deem their apology sincere. BTW….still thriving from having cut off my cable TV in 2014.