Cherry says he 'misspoke' during poppy rant
Don Cherry does not regret the things he said Saturday night on Coach’s Corner that ultimately led to Rogers Sportsnet terminating him from Hockey Night In Canada, but he just wishes he phrased his thoughts differently.
Cherry spoke to CTV News Toronto’s Michelle Dube on Tuesday and says he believes there are many people who are on his side, but are quiet about their support.
“Well there’s two ways of thinking, this is the way I think of it, I think that the silent majority is silent and they listened to the people that gave them [a] hard time,” Cherry said in his interview with Dube. “But there’s a lot of people out there who are with me, but they’re very silent.”
“I don’t regret anything that I said. I wish I had of said it different, I wish I said ‘everybody’ instead of ‘You people’, I should have said everybody. I still believe everybody should wear a poppy. Everybody, I don’t mean one or two. I still say downtown Toronto and Mississauga, they did not wear a poppy. I don’t back down one bit saying that.”
During Saturday night’s first intermission program, the 85-year-old implied that immigrants and people that were new to Canada do not purchase and wear poppies to support military veterans.
"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," Cherry said during Saturday’s Coach’s Corner segment. "These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price."
Rogers Sportsnet issued an apology for Cherry’s comments on Sunday and officially announced that he was stepping down from his position on Monday.
Cherry says that if he was allowed to continue on the program he would have shown contrition for misspeaking and clarified his comments. He was not, however, prepared to go as far as the company wanted him to in order to keep his position.
“If I had a chance to go on this Saturday. I wish I would’ve said ‘everyone,’ ” said Cherry. “I volunteered (to apologize), but it wasn’t enough. I can’t tell you what they asked me to do after that, but I said I wouldn’t do it."
“They asked me to do something beyond going on Saturday and saying something or putting a tweet out or whatever. They wanted me to go beyond that and I said no, I wouldn’t do it.”
Cherry believes if he was willing to meet Rogers Sportsnet’s demands he would still have his job, but he wasn’t going to continue on the show or with the company if he wasn’t able to be himself.
“That’s the way I am and I would’ve come back and not been myself,” said Cherry. “I would rather go out on a high. I have not changed. I never back down. The people that tune into Coach’s Corner, I didn’t want them to see a simp. And I think I would’ve turned into a simp, and I would not do that.”
Cherry’s Coach’s Corner co-host Ron MacLean both tweeted and made an on-air statement of his own on Sunday rebuking Cherry for his comments and apologizing for not saying or doing anything about them immediately on the program.
Cherry says he was let down by the actions of MacLean, someone that he still considers to be a friend.
“I was absolutely dumbfounded when I saw (his comments), I was disappointed watching it, I mean I just couldn’t believe it,” said Cherry. “I was very disappointed, that’s all I want to say about that, I was very disappointed.”