‘Bring back Don Cherry’ petition by conservative Alberta magazine amasses more than 200,000 signatures
MONTREAL – A petition to ‘Bring back Don Cherry’ had amassed more than 200,000 signatures by Wednesday evening.
The petition was launched two days ago by the publisher of conservative Alberta magazine Western Standard, claiming that Don Cherry is a Canadian icon and symbol of the working class, and therefore should not have been removed from his post as a commentator for Hockey Night in Canada.
“He may be politically incorrect, and may not have been as careful as he should have in his remarks, but his offence does not warrant firing,” the petition argues.
Many of the comments under the change.org petition insist Cherry has a right to free speech, while the petition’s authors insist, “Sportsnet and CBC should not cave into a mob of Liberals and Twitter activists and should immediately restore Cherry to his job.”
This comes after the longtime hockey commentator was removed from Sportsnet for ranting that immigrants don’t pay respect to Canadian veterans because they don’t wear poppies.
During a segment on Coach’s Corner on Saturday, the 85-year-old said, "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.”
Cherry then added, “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price."
Sportsnet responded to criticism by stating, "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.”
Cherry has gone on to deny that his comments targeted any particular ethnic group, insisting that everyone should wear a poppy to honour the war veterans.
“It could have been anybody, it could have been Irish, it could have been the Scots, it could have been the English, it could have been anybody,” Cherry said.