With Don Cherry having officially left his post at Coach's Corner (at the behest of Sportsnet), Canadians have been waiting to hear what Grapes himself has to say about the situation. Don Cherry's Remembrance Day rant about wearing poppies seemed to be directed at immigrants, but Cherry himself denies that's what he meant.
"I did not say minorities, I did not say immigrants. If you watch Coach's Corner, I did not say that," Cherry said during an interview, according to CTV News. "I said 'everybody.' And I said 'you people.'"
During the November 9 broadcast of Hockey Night In Canada, Don Cherry made remarks about people who didn't wear poppies, saying, "You people love, 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."
The Canada Broadcast Standards Council received so many complaints about Cherry's remarks that they had to ask people to stop submitting them.
Speaking with Barb DiGiulio on Newstalk 1010, Cherry elaborated on why his statement might have been interpreted the way it was by viewers.
"You make one little comment like ‘you people’ and you know how it picks up," Cherry said. "It could have been anybody. It could have been the Irish, it could have been Scots, it could have been English."
Don Cherry blames "those people" for interpreting "you people" as something racist: https://t.co/IJjdhLRB80 https://t.co/k77214q95K— Jonathan Goldsbie (@Jonathan Goldsbie) 1573527107.0
Cherry also said that he wasn't willing to keep his job if it meant that he couldn't be himself on the air.
"I could have stayed on if I wanted to and knuckled under and turned into a simp, but that’s not my style. I’d rather go out with my shield," Cherry said on Newstalk 1010.
@goldsbie I can't speak for the Scots, but as an Irish Immigrant to Canada more than 30 yrs ago, I have always been… https://t.co/PgBI8CNlY1— ptempany 🇮🇪🇨🇦 (@ptempany 🇮🇪🇨🇦) 1573528218.0
Sportsnet originally issued an apology for Cherry's comments, calling them "divisive," and "offensive." Even Cherry's longtime cohost Ron MacLean issued his own apology.
After Don Cherry's departure, calls were being made on Twitter to boycott Sportsnet for forcing Cherry to step down.
To Cherry, though, the worst part about leaving Hockey Night In Canada and Coach's Corner was having the entire thing take place on Remembrance Day.
"It’s kind of strange to be unemployed, halfway through the season. And of all days Remembrance Day," Cherry said on Newstalk 1010. "It’s sad."