Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe Don Cherry is racist

Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe Don Cherry is racist

Days after addressing Don Cherry’s dismissal during a “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast, sports broadcaster Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe his former co-host is a racist.

MacLean, the long-time co-host of “Coach’s Corner” with Cherry, is in Edmonton to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University of Alberta.

Before receiving the degree, MacLean told reporters it’s been a difficult time.

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Nov. 11, two days after controversial on-air comments during “Coach’s Corner.”

WATCH | Ron MacLean delivers emotional monologue on the end of Coach’s Corner: 

Ron MacLean spoke during the 1st intermission of the Leafs/ Penguins game to address the Don Cherry situation and what he called the “end of an era.” 4:44

The 85-year-old broadcaster made comments that many felt were critical of immigrants for not wearing Remembrance Day poppies.

Cherry used the phrase, ‘You people,’ during the segment but later denied that he was singling out visible minorities.

“You people that come here, whatever it is, 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 said on the segment. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

In Saturday’s address, MacLean said “Coach’s Corner” is no more.

“We are all hurting. I have collapsed 100 times this week, if not more,” he said during the broadcast. “We are all disappointed.”

WATCH | Don Cherry tells CBC he regrets his choice of words: 

Don Cherry speaks to CBC News after being fired for comments he made 3:05

MacLean said he has received an email from Cherry since he spoke out Saturday.

“He’s upset, but we’re all raw,” he said Tuesday in Edmonton. “We’re just going through one of the most difficult situations.”

MacLean said he doesn’t believe Cherry is racist.

“Don has started to come around … he knows we projected an idea, an attitude or a behaviour on someone. He knows, I feel like in what I’ve listened to, he’s trying now to admit to that.

“If I have one regret, it’s that when I apologized on Sunday night, I used Don’s name and, if I am sitting at home watching it, that would hurt me. That might have created some resolve in Don not to apologize.”

Published at Tue, 19 Nov 2019 23:46:01 +0000