Don Cherry is standing by the controversial comments that got him fired this week, but says if he could do it again he would have “chosen different words.”
On Saturday night, the “Coach’s Corner” co-anchor went on a rant about people not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.
“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,” he said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
The statement caused huge outcry, leading to Sportsnet’s decision Monday to fire the longtime hockey TV personality.
But Cherry says he sees nothing wrong with his original comments.
Cherry spoke with press outlets including Global News’ Morganne Campbell on Tuesday.
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes you’re high sometimes you’re low,” he tells Global News in the video above, adding that he is “disappointed” with Ron MacLean’s Twitter apology.
“He buried me. I was very disappointed the way he handled [it],” Cherry says, but says they’re still friends. “I don’t want to condemn him but I was very disappointed.”
Cherry also spoke with The Associated Press.
“I know what I said and I meant it. Still do. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers,” he told The Associated Press.
“I did not say minorities, I did not say immigrants. If you watch ‘Coach’s Corner’, I did not say that. I said ‘everybody.’ And I said, ‘You people,’” he added. “Irish, Scottish, anybody that’s newcomers to Canada, and they should wear a poppy to honour our dead from the past, whether they’re Scottish or Irish or English, or where they come from.”
Cherry also claimed that he could have stayed on as co-anchor of the “Hockey Night in Canada” segment “if I had turned into a tame robot who nobody would recognize… I can’t do that after 38 years.”
The 85-year-old also spoke about his firing with Newstalk 1010’s Barb DiGiulio on Monday.
“I’m unemployed now, after 38 years. It’s kind of strange, to be unemployed halfway through the season – and of all days, Remembrance Day. It’s sad,” he said.
“Naturally, the guys that are for me and the women that are for me, they say ‘Way to go, Don,’ and the people that are against me, they took it the way they wanted to take it,” Cherry added.
Cherry also said that he wasn’t happy to see his co-anchor Ron MacLean apologize for letting the comments go unchallenged.
“The only thing I can say about that is I’m disappointed,” Cherry said. “I think anybody that knew Ron was disappointed. That’s all I’ll say about that.”
~ With files from Global News