Don Cherry fired for offensive comments about immigrants
Rick Madonik / Toronto Star / Getty

Don Cherry was fired by Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada after his rant about immigrants and poppies aired during the latest segment of "Coach's Corner," the network announced Monday.

"Sports brings people together - it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night's broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down," Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley said in a statement. "During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.

"Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years. We would like to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada."

After the news of his firing broke, Cherry spoke to the Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington.

"I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honor our fallen soldiers," Cherry said.

He added, "I speak the truth and I walk the walk. I have visited the bases of the troops, been to Afghanistan with our brave soldiers at Christmas, been to cemeteries of our fallen around the world, and honored our fallen troops on 'Coach's Corner.'"

Remembrance Day in Canada honors people who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces. Leading up to Nov. 11, veterans' groups and volunteers distribute poppy pins and stickers in exchange for donations, and the poppies are worn as a symbol of remembrance.

Cherry found himself on the hot seat Saturday and through the weekend after he complained that he hadn't seen Canadian immigrants wearing poppies as the date approached.

"You people that come here, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that," Cherry said.

"These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada."

Sportsnet, the NHL, and Hockey Canada all released statements condemning Cherry's stance.

Cherry's longtime broadcast partner, Ron MacLean, issued an apology of his own Sunday on Sportsnet after staying silent while Cherry spoke during Saturday's segment.

"Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory - which were flat-out wrong," MacLean said. "... We know diversity is the strength of the country. We see it in the travels with our show and with Hockey Night in Canada."

After a career coaching in the NHL, Cherry, now 85, was hired full-time by CBC in 1981.

Don Cherry fired for offensive comments about immigrants
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