The Most Dangerous Game

TORONTO (Nov. 11) — So, Rogers made sure to fire Don Cherry on Remembrance Day. Those bastards in the ivory tower at 1 Mount Pleasant Rd. couldn’t have held off for another 24 hours, huh?

But, really, what more should we have expected from arguably the most–despised national brand in our country — one that treats employees as numbers on a paper; then randomly lops them off, one by one, to try and save itself from the disaster of a $5.2 billion contract with the National Hockey League? I’m glad the soldiers that Cherry always referred to during Coach’s Corner died for freedom of speech. And, I suppose our rendition of the First Amendment doesn’t include the word “immigrants”. Today’s move is nothing shy of burlesque and, potentially, many–times more damaging than the words Donald S. spoke on Saturday.

Whenever our lawful right to free speech is quelled, red flags should be flying all over the place.


Do yourself a favor and fully disregard the manner in which Rogers has couched this dismissal. In fact, Cherry’s remarks on Saturday — insensitive, but not racist — provided the Communications giant yet another reason to save a couple mil. Bob McCown, Glenn Healy, Bob Cole, Nick Kypreos, John Shannon, Doug MacLean, Daren Millard, Paul Romanuk, George Stromboulopoulos and others behind the scenes have paid for the absurd NHL contract with their careers. Now, it’s the biggest fish of all. A message to my old pal, Brian Burke: Walk the halls of 1 Mount Pleasant with your head on a swivel. And, make sure to be pleasant when the red light is on. The most offensive national brand in Canada wouldn’t want you to offend anyone with freedom of speech. Especially while tugging on the payroll. Burke is last man standing among a professional, yet uniformly–bland cast of TV characters on the network that bought its way to No. 1.

And, for the bleeding hearts out there siding with this move… be careful. Be really, really careful what you’re cheering for. The boneyard at Flander’s Field represents our way of life. The tanks, machine guns and bombs that killed our brave soldiers assured that Hitler and other despots wouldn’t spread their revulsion. When we silent Canadian citizens for lawful commentary — even if somewhat callous — we’re playing a very dangerous game. I’m among those truly hoping that Cherry shoves a massive lawsuit down the throats of the lily–white executives who fired him today. What’s another $5.2 billion to Rogers, anyhow?

More on this later…

EMAIL: HOWARDLBERGER@GMAIL.COM

21 comments on “The Most Dangerous Game

  1. Have never been a big Cherry fan,but I can think of a dozen times over the years where he has said things that were more worthy of his termination than what was said on Saturday night except then he was quite a valuable asset and paid a lot of bills at c.b.c. Now he is just an expendable old rich white guy who says that people who don’t wear a poppy for remembrance day should show respect for the thousands of veterans, many who gave their life, so we can all enjoy the great opportunities of this democracy. long live free speech.

  2. You’re out to lunch on this one, Howard. Although your ire towards Rogers in general is well-placed, in this matter there can be no defence of Cherry. Freedom of expression is not untrammelled in a broadcast over public airwaves.  The Canadian Association of Broadcasters prohibits stereotyping under its Equitable Portrayal Code: “Recognizing that stereotyping is a form of generalization that is frequently simplistic, belittling, hurtful or prejudicial, while being unreflective of the complexity of the group being stereotyped, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no negative stereotypical material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, [or] colour.” Quite apart from that, Cherry’s rant was an indiscriminate anti-immigrant screed worthy of Trump.  Veterans themselves have been clear in their position on Cherry’s remarks: through the Legion they rightly trashed Cherry for offending their “own articles of faith which are based on respect for people from all backgrounds”. Many immigrants have endured unspeakable hardship and risked death to get to this country in a way that Cherry in his privileged life as a Canadian has never had to endure. In any case, anyone who tries to rely on on freedom of expression must accept that it works both ways. No one is required to wear a poppy. I do, and I always have, but that’s my choice, and my grandfather and my father fought in both wars to protect the right of any Canadian not to do so.

  3. Agreed that a number of people were treated unfairly at Sportsnet Howie, however you can’t bend the facts to fit a bitter narrative. It’s rather convenient to turn a racist diatribe into a statement in support of the troops. How can you not support the troops? (Kellyanne Conway would be proud). But that’s not what he said. Everyone knows what “You People” means whether you want to admit it or not. Don is about 15 years past his best before date. He was once a relevant hockey voice in Canada, where whether you agreed with him or not you wanted to know what he thought, on hockey matters – myself included. I can no longer waste my time trying to piece together his fractured half sentences ending in incomplete thoughts. His “hockey insights” have been reduced to criticisizing the icing rule and telling defensemen to not tip pucks in the shooting lane. Thanks i got it. Time to move on. As for freedom of speech? Don is welcome to host his own podcast and give his opinion for hours upon hours on politics, those people, pinkos and pukes. I guarantee you that no one would last more than 5 minutes listening to it. Unfortunately he has stained his own legacy.

  4. Well put Howard. Thank you for not knuckling under and dubiously agreeing with the puritanical “cancel culture” that now guides our society as if we’re watching John Lithgow in a scene from Footloose. I had to view the offending clip at least 4 times and that was before I dug up the rest of the segment in order to find the part that justified this firing. Simply put, what the hell is the big deal?

  5. My room-mate in University wrote his MA on the relationship between Don Cherry and the CBC. The CBC hated Don’s guts but because Don was rabidly jingoistic and promoted Canada they allowed his run to continue as he made them look good. It also didn’t hurt that HNIC made money while the rest of the CBC’s programming largely flushed taxpayer dollars down the dumper.
    Your assertion that Rogers was looking to cut Don’s salary rings true. They saw a way to offload Don, avoid a severance payout and took it. I also agree that Don didn’t say anything wrong or racist but I certainly feel that it could have been worded differently. If Don decides to sue he’ll have a bunch of old lawyers whose grandfathers fought in WW2 on his side.

  6. You’re way out to lunch on this one, Howard. Although your ire towards Rogers in general is generally well-placed, in this matter there is no defence of Cherry. A broadcast over public airwaves to millions is not a letter to the editor and in no way is freedom of expression the same in both cases. Cherry’s rant was an indiscriminate anti-immigrant screed worthy of Trump. Veterans themselves, as represented by the Legion, rightly trashed Cherry for offending their “own articles of faith which are based on respect for people from all backgrounds”. In any case, if you’re going to try to rely on freedom of expression, it works both ways. No one is required to wear a poppy. I do, and I always have, but that’s my choice, and my grandfather and my father fought in both wars to protect my right not to.

  7. Does anyone seriously think that Cherry and MacLean didn’t discuss a strategy here? Don is 85 and was probably in his last season at HNIC. MacLean still has many years to go. Don knows that he might have went too far and will go out on his shield and told MacLean to cover himself and apologize so he can continue. IMO no apology was needed. This is for entertainment. Take a look at how much talent has been let go by the networks. Basically it’s been anyone that has an opinion contrary to what they are trying to present. It’s all vanilla now. Boring!
    Provoke outrage, induce thought, create discussion. Sadly, you can’t do that anymore.

  8. Don could have and should have been more tactful in his comments. Rogers hired him when they acquired NHL rights because he was controversial and would generate viewership (translation $$$$$) now they apparently don’t like his being controversial. That, folks is a double standard. This has been greatly overblown. How ironic he was let go on Remembrance Day……his Day.

  9. I have never been a huge fan of Don Cherry’s, despite him being considered a national treasure by many. However, this time the management at Sports Net got it wrong. This was simply Don stating his opinion. He didn’t get the nickname “Grapes” for no reason! Don spoke the truth. Many newcomers to Canada do not wear poppies – is it out of ignorance, or defiance? Only they can say. #IStandWithDonCherry

  10. I agree Howard. My father was an immigrant at age 5. He and his brother fought in WWII. As I walked around Sherway Gardens, only 10% of folks had a poppy on. If you love your freedom, thank a get and buy a Poppy to support them.

  11. Im very disappointed in Ron McLean. He gives Don Cherry a thumbs up on national TV and then throws him under the bus. Now I know why he never made it as a referee.

    Bob Hodges

  12. As my wife constantly warns me; “ filter Philly” and so I am not surprised at Don’s departure and the poorly handled manner that the management couldn’t wait to make their announcement today. A sad, sad state of affairs Howard and Don deserves so much more. I am thinking the HOF group now are off the hook completely. Howard, well written and thank you for your direct and truthful comments today! Cheers!

  13. No old friend, this time you’re wrong. Don’t make it about free speech. It was racist speech by an employee over the public airwaves. I’m get fired too, rightly.
    Rosie

    1. Would you like a box of tissues Rosie? You must be indelibly scarred for life by Don’s words. Everybody at the Star should lose their jobs for impersonating journalists. Bunch of freakin cry babies.

  14. It is pretty disappointing to see, but I am sure all the PC lefties are now rejoicing. Several of my friends and I would always comment on how great it was to see Don support our troops. We all really loved him and respected his opinion which we almost always agreed with. What really aannoyed me was seeing Ron McLean throw Don under the bus, but I guess Ron is thinking about his job and not a life long friendship.

  15. Brilliantly stated, Howard. I’m applauding you from south of the border. Yes, I was watching Saturday night and am shocked by this overreaction to what Don said.
    “Jiggs”

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