Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion set to support pro-Don Cherry Rally
Brash sportscaster and public figure Don Cherry is not taking his firing from Sportsnet over his much-derided "You People" comments well and is pleading his case—but not fully apologizing for his perceived anti-immigrant comments—on Fox News.
He's also receiving some support from the former mayor of one of Canada's most diverse cities, Hazel McCallion.
Today (Nov. 13), The Toronto Sun announced that McCallion hopes the network will reconsider its decision.
"I want Don back on Hockey Night in Canada," the 98-year-old former Mississauga mayor said, as reported by The Toronto Sun.
The Sun says a rally for the embattled commentator will be held outside Sportsnet's studios at 1 Mount Pleasant Rd. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 1:00 p.m.
The Sun says that McCallion won't be able to make it to the rally, but is hoping other people will attend.
"I hope many people go," McCallion told Newstalk 1010's John Moore. "Don Cherry deserves a chance to explain himself."
Cherry, 85, was fired Monday (Nov. 11) by Sportsnet following his now-infamous rant about Canadian newcomers on Hockey Night in Canada over the weekend.
On Saturday, just a couple days before Remembrance Day, Cherry appeared on the show during his regular Coach's Corner segment and criticized newcomers to Canada for apparently refusing to wear poppies to honour the country's veterans.
"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."
Cherry also remarked that he rarely sees people wearing poppies in Mississauga and Toronto.
Cherry lives in Mississauga.
About two days after the incident, Sportsnet confirmed that Cherry would be stepping down in light of his comments.
His co-host, Ron McLean, issued a formal apology for not challenging Cherry's assertions on the air. Sportsnet also apologized to viewers for Cherry's outburst, saying that his views are not the views of the network.
On Tuesday, Nov. 12, Cherry—who initially told The Sun's Joe Warmington that he was "hurt" that the network asked him to step down on Remembrance Day—continued to protest his firing by appearing on controversial right-wing pundit Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, Tucker Carlson Tonight.
On the show, Carlson questioned why Cherry's demand for newcomers to Canada to wear poppies was controversial.
Cherry said he wasn't sure, but admitted he should have called out all Canadians—not just new ones.
"Well, don’t ask me, and the big thing is I should have said — if I had to come through, if I had to have been smart and protected myself — I should have said 'everybody should be wearing a Poppy.'"
Cherry acknowledged that his "you people" remark, which blatantly targeted immigrants and earned the ire of current Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and thousands of other Canadians, prompted his firing.
The Royal Canadian Legion also distanced itself from the comments made by Cherry.
That said, Cherry didn't seem terribly apologetic, instead insinuating that people are "sensitive."
"It's the two words that got it, that 'you people,'" Cherry told Carlson. "As you know, people are very sensitive like that, and that’s — that got me.”
Carlson doubled-down, calling Cherry's critics "fascists."
"If I can just clarify, they’re not sensitive at all. They are fascists. They’re not — they actually have no real feelings. They are faking their outrage. They’re trying to crush you because they want to exert power because it makes them feel big, when actually inside they are small."
Cherry told Carlson that he did not mean to say anything hateful.
Cherry has been in hot water for insensitive and discriminatory comments before.
Over the years, he has accused indigenous people of not creating their own breaks in life; said women are too busy "yapping" instead of paying attention at hockey games; said female reporters should not be allowed in men's locker rooms; called environmentalists "pinkos" and "left-wing kooks" for their views on climate change; called former NHL enforcers battling the effects of head trauma "pukes and turncoats" for criticizing fighting in hockey; and repeatedly criticized European and French Canadian hockey players for being "too soft" and ruining the "Canadian game.”
While Cherry has not formally apologized for his remarks, he told The CBC that he should have “chosen his words more carefully.”
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