Don Cherry will never forget that Ron MacLean turned his back on him when the Sportsnet network fired him in 2019 following racist comments, believing that their long friendship is buried forever.
The two men rubbed shoulders for 33 years as co-hosts of the Coach's Corner segment of Hockey Night in Canada. But that friendship came to an abrupt end when MacLean supported the network's decision to fire the former Boston Bruins coach.
“I really believe in the Lord, and the Lord says forgive and forget. I do not know. I don't think I will ever be able to forget. But I have no animosity towards him, ”suggested Cherry, in an interview with the daily Toronto Sun.
On November 9, 2019, Cherry made controversial remarks to immigrants, whom he accused of not buying enough poppies as Remembrance Day approached.
“You who come here, you like our way of life, our milk, our honey. […] You could at least pay a few dollars to buy some poppies or something,” he said at Coach’s Corner.
If MacLean did not react on the spot, he spoke up after Cherry's dismissal. “Don Cherry made a comment that was hurtful, discriminatory, and does not reflect what Rogers or Sportsnet stands for. We know that diversity is a strength of the country. I also owe you my apologies. I was there, I did not react and I did not answer. [...] I think it's a good lesson for Don and me. We were wrong and I sincerely apologize."
This was not a first controversy for Cherry, which has often targeted Quebecers and French speakers. He notably supported Eric Lindros' decision not to evolve for the Quebec Nordiques and criticized the choice of Quebec skier Jean-Luc Brassard as Canada's flag bearer during the opening ceremony of the Nagano Olympics in 1998. .