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MALCOLM: Don Cherry Deserves Better

It wasn’t Cherry’s comments that got him fired. It was the social justice mob.

Cancel culture just took another victim. This time it was Canadian icon and cherished national broadcaster Don Cherry — all over an untrue smear.

Sportsnet Canada, a division of Roger’s Media who took over the lucrative Hockey Night in Canada from the CBC in 2014, announced on Monday afternoon that they had fired Don Cherry over a supposedly offensive comment made on Saturday night’s broadcast. 

Sportsnet stated that “during the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.”

Wait a minute. If Cherry’s comments were so divisive, why did it take Sportsnet nearly 48 hours to fire him? Why did they wait until Remembrance Day to fire a beloved icon for a rant encouraging Canadian patriotism and wearing a poppy?

Well, it wasn’t Cherry’s comments that got him fired. It was the social justice mob. 

As has disturbingly become commonplace, a social media mob formed and began calling for Cherry’s head. 

Just as they did when they got Kevin Hart removed from his job hosting the Oscars over a decade-old tweet, how Shane Gillis got fired from SNL before he even started because of an old politically incorrect podcast, and how dozens of Canadian politicians had their candidacy removed over old tweets, socially conservative views or secret screenshots taken by malicious trolls. 

According to the official leftist narrative, Cherry made racist and anti-immigrant comments on Coach’s Corner.

It started with a few pompous social justice warriors who were quick to hop on social media to signal their virtue and condemn the 85-year-old hockey legend for his supposed bigotry. 

The self-righteousness fuelled something of a moral panic, where the crowd condemning Cherry grew angrier and more hostile. 

The mainstream media added to the snowball effect, by writing stories calling Cherry’s rant “toxic” and “anti-immigrant.”

Suddenly, prominent voices like longtime CBC host Peter Mansbridge seemed to accuse Cherry of equating all veterans to being “white” and somehow spinning Cherry’s comment to be about race. 

Then, feeling the heat from a one-sided media and bullying leftists on social media, a private corporation made the cowardly decision to save face and oust a popular broadcaster. 

This is how cancel culture works. And every time it happens, it has a chilling effect. We became less free, less likely to speak our mind, less likely to offer an opposing opinion and looking more and more like an authoritarian one-party state from the pages of a George Orwell novel. 

Before we allow Don Cherry to be cancelled, it’s worth going back and listening to what he actually says. Not what the mob accused him of saying, but his actual words. 

Don Cherry: “I was talking to a veteran, I said ‘I’m not going to run the poppy thing anymore because, what’s the sense. I live in Mississauga, nobody wears them, very few people wear poppies. 

Downtown Toronto, forget it! Downtown Toronto. Nobody wears a poppy, and I’m not going to waste [my time].”

He says ‘wait a minute! How about running it for the people who buy them?’ Now you go to the small cities, and you know, you know [stuttering]. 

You people, they come here, whatever it is, they love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that.

These guys pay for your way of life, that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.

Anyhow, I’m going to run it again for you great people and good Canadians that bought a poppy, I’m still gonna run it.”

Ron MacLean: “Love you for it” [thumbs up].

Admittedly, Cherry is not always the most eloquent or articulate speaker, and it’s a little tough to know exactly what he means sometimes. 

When I first heard his comments about the poppy, I didn’t even think about immigrants to Canada. I assumed he was talking about people who live in Downtown Toronto who don’t wear a poppy, since that is literally what he said. 

The outrage mob, however, played judge and jury. They ruled that he was talking about immigrants. And not just the immigrants who don’t wear poppies, but all immigrants and especially immigrants from non-European backgrounds. 

The mob assigned intentions to Cherry that he himself did not have.

If you want evidence that this entire smear came from bad-faith faux outrage by the social justice warriors, just look at what Cherry told the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington after he was fired. 

 “I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers.”

Cherry was talking to all Canadians. His comments were about Canadian patriotism and supporting those who have sacrificed to protect our country. 

He’s always been a huge supporter of the troops and has always shown his love for our great country and for the brave men and women in uniform who have made tremendous sacrifices to secure and protect the freedoms we take for granted. 

Cherry deserves better. Especially from his longtime co-host Ron MacLean, who was quick to throw Cherry under the bus and apologize on his behalf on Twitter. This, after MacLean nodded along at the time and after Cherry stuck up for MacLean when the Network tried to fire him a few years back. 

And Canadians deserve better. We must stand up to the outrage mob that seeks to scrub our culture of dissenting opinions and contrarian ideas. They’re more than just annoying virtue-signaling blowhards. 

They’re an authoritarian menace slowly eroding our hard-fought freedoms.

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