Cherry Must Go?

Well if you live in Canada I’m sure you’ve all heard about how the federal government is investigating on-air comments about francophones made by Don Cherry on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. If you haven’t heard the comments made by Cherry, he was basically berating those who are calling for the mandatory use of protective visors by NHL players following a bunch of recent eye injuries. Cherry then went on to say that the only players who wear visors are “Europeans and French guys.” To add more fire to the mix, a columnist for The Gazette (a French Montreal paper), Jack Todd, wrote a column the next day claiming that Cherry was a “racist” and demanded a full apology.

Okay before I talk about the comments let’s talk about the point Cherry was trying to make. Years ago, Cherry was predicting that the increase use of visors, and the possibility of them becoming mandatory would only increase the number of high sticking injuries, because players would lose respect for each other, and would become irresponsible with their sticks. You can hate Cherry if you want, but you have to admit he was right on the money with that one. No one listened and now look at all the high stick incidents we’ve seen lately, the most recent coming last night when Foote high stick Yzerman with 1 sec left in the third period with the puck not even in reach of Yzerman’s stick. I know Foote didn’t do it on purpose but that was perfect example of a player being totally irresponsible with his stick.

As far as his comments go, I won’t say how I feel about the issue, but I will say that Cherry calls it like he sees it. Can we really punish Cherry for having a diverse view? Are TV broadcasters supposed to hide their real feelings, and just say what the government wants them to say? Maybe Cherry was wrong with what he said, but at least he said what was his view, not the governments view, or “the correct thing to say”. Cherry didn’t make that comment because he doesn’t like Europeans or French Canadians; he said it because that’s what he thinks. Maybe its true and maybe its not, I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Like it or not, Don Cherry is a cultural icon. Cherry and MacLean make up a great combination of hockey knowledge and comic relief. It would be a shame to see them taken off the air, because some Canadians can’t handle a diverse view that pokes a little bit of fun at a certain group. There are many dumb things I hate about Cherry (mainly the fact that he can’t pronounce any players name) but I always give him credit for saying how he really feels. I rather watch Cherry on a hockey show saying his real views no matter how dumb they are, then some robot broadcaster who is programmed to say “the correct thing”.