DON CHERRY FIRED: Outraged Canadians react to the firing of an icon
Canadians have made it clear that they are outraged over Don Cherry’s firing. After the news broke, Sportsnet released a statement explaining why they had chosen to boot the Canadian icon.
In a statement, quite clearly written by some Bay Street PR firm, the media organization said that “Sports brings people together—it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussion with Don Cherry … it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down.”
Although Sportsnet desperately attempted to limit the damage, the vast majority of reactions to their post was negative. In the statement’s comment section, thousands of tempestuous hockey fanatics (some of whom would’ve grown up with Cherry), made their feelings known.
Some respondents labelled Don Cherry’s firing as a symptom of cancel culture, while others thought that Cherry’s removal was long overdue.
As well as this, some Twitter users vowed to never watch Sportsnet again. One man even declared that upon hearing the news he called his service provider to cancel his families subscription.
There has been much commentary over how Cherry is preferred by the older generation, rather than the younger. Indeed, many young hockey fans did not comprehend the older generation’s reverence of the pundit. One young Canadian made this point tersely.
All in all, Sportsnet’s decision has already proven to be deeply contentious for Canadians. Although the goal of the petition, cancellations, and public outrage is to get Cherry back into Coach’s Corner, it seems unlikely to occur.
It began with Grapes but the end is uncertain. Don Cherry’s now infamous “You People” rant was the match that lit the fire.
The Social’s Jessica Allen took Cherry’s comments and ran regaling us with memories of her formative years and how those stories can be applied to all hockey players across the country and fans of the game alike.
Akim Aliu, a Nigerian-born NHL player, came out against former coach Bill Peters recently. Talking via social media about an incident where Peters used racial epithets a decade earlier while he was playing for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. Since the post, many other former players of Peters have come forward as well with stories of his unprofessional conduct and controversial coaching style. Peters stepped down Friday as coach of the Calgary Flames.
Daniel Carcillo is leading a twitter brigade against abuse within the organizations of Hockey Canada and the NHL. He has been encouraging other players to do the same and they haven’t wasted any time. Dozens of former players from the NHL, OHL, WHL and minor league have come forward with similar stories of abuse. The University of Lethbridge has had six female hockey players make a formal complaint with the University’s human resources department asking for their coach Michelle Janus to be fired for several instances of bullying, although the details remain unclear. So far the university has decided to keep Janus as Coach of the school team.
Several former players have come out against the Sutter family as well, including Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich and Ron. The entire family all played at one time in the NHL before moving on to team management or becoming coaches themselves. One player has suggested that this has given the Sutter boys almost a Royal Family status amongst the NHL and Hockey Canada, and that has made them extremely powerful so no one has had their voice heard up to this point or dared to speak up. The Sutters have not yet made a comment on the (at this point) vague allegations.
The complaints against some individuals in the professional hockey world have ranged from sexual and physical abuse to hazing and underage drinking.
Rookie parties have come under fire as a haven for toxic behaviour. Carcillo posted a photo from an alleged rookie party where the rookies were forced to wear dresses and drink alcohol while some were still underage. The faces of the players have been blurred out, leaving only their beer toting, dress wearing bodies.
To me, the photo looks suspect. The erased faces could be to protect the identity of the players posing, it may also be to conceal any expressions of amusement, one can’t say for sure.
I played hockey until I was about twelve years old and then quit because that is about the time it all starts to get very serious. I can’t speak first hand about such experiences so it’s hard for me to determine whose side I’m on in all of this. I’m sure the incidents range from a tyrannical, abusive coaches to hypersensitive players upset about the typical masculine and jocular behaviour of jocks. My gut tells me both, and that many heads are about to roll, some that should and some that shouldn’t.
I just hope we won’t all lose our heads in the process and crucify the innocent.
‘Tis the season of the witch hunt and in the era of social media, the concept of dealing with things on a case by case basis seems to be a difficult task to ask of the average Twitter user, who instead make everything black and white.
Time will tell just what’s in store for the nation’s favourite past time.
A student with Down syndrome scored a dramatic buzzer-beating three-point shot this past week inspiring his school, province and country.
“He’s got an incredible spirit about him. He’s so positive. Just an awesome, awesome kid.” That’s what Greg Schellenberg, Director of Athletics at Heritage Woods had to say about Reid Demelo following the annual Kodiak Klassic tournament according to City News1130.
The Kodiak Klassic took place in Port Moody, B.C. this past Thursday with the championship game finishing out with the Heritage Woods Kodiaks getting the best of the Kitsilano Blue Demons.
The moment that made this game special was that the final basket was scored by a kid who wasn’t even on the team. With two minutes left in the game, the entire gymnasium began to chant, “We want Reid, we want Reid. And it’s deafening, you can’t ignore it.” said Shellenberg.
Coach Schellenberg walked over to the other team’s bench and asked the rival Blue Demons coach if he could sub in Reid Demelo, a Heritage Woods student with Down syndrome and a loyal fan of all the school’s various sports clubs.
The other coach agreed and with thirty-seconds left Reid was subbed in. Demelo wasted no time barrelling down the court before getting a pass and shooting from behind the three-point line to sink a perfect shot after the buzzer. The post on social media shows the gymnasium going into “absolute mayhem.” It was a great day for sportsmanship and the power of inclusivity.
Social justice has come for the NHL. And Ron MacLean, fresh off of throwing his broadcasting partner and better half Don Cherry under the bus, has bought in 100%.
During the intermission of Hockey Night in Canada this Saturday on Sportsnet, MacLean addressed his guests, Kwame Mason and Tara Slone:
“I said to Kwame, I don’t see you as black, I don’t see Tara as a woman. And then I realized, ‘There’s your white male privilege. You know what, Ron? You don’t have to see that because you don’t need to see that.'”
He then went on to apologize for not having enough people of colour pick the three stars on Hockey Night in Canada and for the structural racism and sexism of hockey. You can watch the clip here:
Of course, the ironic thing is that Ron MacLean’s original way of viewing Mason or Sloane was correct. He didn’t see Mason as a black man and he didn’t see Sloane as a woman. He saw them both as fellow human beings.
Now, he has been re-educated (so that he may keep his job) to only see them for the minority groups they represent. This is objectively more racist and sexist, but it’s the kind of racism and sexism that social justice demands. Ron MacLean is now safe.
The social panic sweeping over hockey started with the debacle of Don Cherry’s firing from Sportsnet for saying “you people” in reference to immigrants who don’t wear the poppy (an incident that he was willing to clarify and apologize for).
More recently, Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters was fired for uttering the N-word to a player many years ago as an assistant coach for another team. Whether Peters should have been fired, fined, or otherwise sanctioned after his apology is a matter up for debate. Certainly, people have said and done worse and kept their jobs, but the trudge toward progress made any such nuanced discussion impossible.
Since these incidents, far-left Canadian pundits such as Jess Allen and Nora Loreto have claimed that hockey is inherently racist or white supremacist. Allen claimed that hockey players were “white boys” and “bullies” while Loreto proclaimed in a boastful tweet that hockey leads to “white supremacy and misogyny.”
Take note. This is how social justice movements always work. They take individual instances of inappropriateness or intolerance (or even something as mild as a misunderstanding) and they apply those instances to an entire culture and claim that the community must be fixed at any cost. Of course, this means consultants, specialists, diversity trainers, federal assistance and a whole lot of hand wringing.
It doesn’t seem to matter to these crusaders who want to clean the culture that Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of our hockey-loving country, has been the centre of racist incidents more times than he can even remember.
No reasonable person could say that Bill Peters was more racist than our prime minister. But you see, Trudeau’s past racism is different because he’s on the social justice team! He can lead the nation forward by helping us have these difficult conversations and recognizing. These big bad hockey coaches and players on the other hand, well, they must be punished and banished from the culture because of toxic masculinity and systemic hetero white something something.
We’ve already seen the panic hit social media, with former NHLer Daniel Carcillo attempting to create McCarthyite blacklists of other professional coaches based on rumours:
It’s only going to get worse. But before the entire hockey community drops their sticks in favour of pitchforks, I would like to suggest that the progressivist push to name, shame, and force every “community member” to grovel and pledge their allegiance to intersectionality is not the answer. If hockey continues down this path, it will lose fans and revenue.
Like any culture, hockey has its problems. But those problems are caused by individual human beings. If a coach, player, or fan is acting in a racist or sexist manner, then they should be held accountable as individuals. And matters such as these should be adjudicated between the parties who were actually involved in the behaviour.
The shift from individual responsibility to collective guilt is where things skate downhill real fast. Grievance Studies scholar James Lindsay spotted it right away and quite aptly quipped, “LOL RIP hockey”:
This will not end well. Whether it’s the world of music, comedy, film, or professional sports, social justice crusades lead to nothing but division. If the NHL continues to get woke, it will most definitely go broke.
The Canadian Football League (CFL) is the greatest example of Canadian national pride and the symbolism of Canadiana within a sports setting. Canada has always been a country where diversity is not only accepted but considered a source of strength.
In the mid 20th century, CFL was a place where diversity was accepted, in particular as a playing ground for African-Americans to play football in an environment free of discrimination. The Toronto Argonauts currently operate a platform for anti-bullying efforts and ensuring that youth know that the CFL is a platform for strong Canadian values.
Every fall, the Grey Cup is hosted in a different city each year in Canada and is known outside of the country as our version of the “Super Bowl” as represented in the media. The showcasing of the Grey Cup to a worldwide audience has the ability to represent Canadian patriotism, an idea that we as Canadians hold deeply.
We see true Canadiana every year at the Grey Cup with the Mounties in full uniform. No other sports league invites Canada’s treasured police force to present their trophy. Every time the trophy is handed off, every Canadian should be in awe of how unique and how special our country is.
At the Grey Cup this year, support for Canada’s vital oil and gas industry was on display by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Statements such as these are not seen anywhere else, but on the only stage where true Canadian spirit is showcased.
The acceptance of all athletes and personnel, regardless of race or creed, in the world of sports goes beyond the need for players or a full roster card. It speaks to the fact that Canada is a diverse nation and will always be accepting of any individual without regard to their nationality or ethnicity.
Football is seen as a symbol of homegrown Canadian professional sports with multiple meanings beyond the sport. Canadian universities outnumber American universities in regards to draft numbers and have special Canadian-only selections. There is always a particular emphasis on Canadian talent on every squad.
There are also basic differences between the CFL and the NFL, such as in scoring, ball size, field size. To many, the CFL style of football is like watching an entirely different version of football compared to watching the more hyped NFL-style football.
The CFL is largely seen as a league of diversity, of common values and goals, and a particular Canadian national pride. Those characteristics define in part what being a Canadian stands for.
There is no other major sports league in Canada that is solely Canadian and prides itself on being so. The league may not receive the highest of ratings, but it is the one league we know that is ours and ours alone.
Just watch a game for yourself to feel the heritage while watching. It is a feeling you cannot experience when watching any other sports league. It is the only league that has the word “Canadian” in it.
The past history of the CFL has definitely shaped the way we see its current formation.
The big-name ownership of the Argos (including Wayne Gretzky and John Candy) certainly catapulted the CFL into the much-needed spotlight by the early 1990s. Then a failed experiment in the mid-1990s led to expansion in multiple areas of the United States for a three-year duration; seven teams came and went.
It was this defining moment, where the league realized that they were not an international brand, but that they were Canada’s league, and needed to ensure the country gets behind the league to truly make it something special. It should be known that the commissioner of the league from 1996 to 2000 was John Tory, Toronto’s current mayor. Tory played a big part in saving the league entirely.
There is no doubt that the CFL will continue to display signs of strong Canadian values and culture, showcasing the uniqueness of Canada, and represents a one-of-a-kind point of view of how Canadians view professional sports, being Canada’s sole nationwide major professional sports league.
The CFL defines and moves us Canadians. No other sports league can do this in the ever-changing climate of professional sports.