Over two months after Don Cherry’s infamous ‘you people’ poppy rant during a November edition of Coach’s Corner — a weekly segment on Hockey Night in Canada — Ron MacLean chatted about the whirlwind that was the days following Cherry’s controversial comments on a recent episode of Spittin’ Chiclets.
Other than the apology MacLean delivered the day after Cherry’s words were broadcasted across the country before Rogers Hometown Hockey and his heartfelt monologue the following Saturday during the spot traditionally held for Coach’s Corner, the 59-year-old hasn’t said much publicly about the incident.
Cherry was fired by Rogers on Remembrance Day, two days after the incident.
MacLean opened up to the three hosts of the popular hockey podcast — Rear Admiral, and former NHL players Paul Bissonnette and Ryan Whitney — while a guest for a recent episode.
“It was good to see that reflection of two guys, so different, that could work together and then I felt like we were kind of in a foxhole,” MacLean explained to the trio. “And then on this crazy event, which was just Don projecting a behaviour on a people because of where they come from and, you know, got it wrong, but chose... His decision was not to say sorry and do whatever... He said they [Rogers] made it impossible, which I can’t believe they would make it impossible for Don. But, you know, anyway, he just decided what he decided and I had no control...”
MacLean and Cherry, 85, had co-hosted Coach’s Corner for 34 years before the former NHL coach said what he said on Nov. 9.
“It was an inadvertent mistake, but it was a mistake,” MacLean later said in reference to his statement on Rogers Hometown Hockey the following night. “So, I was upset that it kind of went sideways on us and I wanted to apologize and I kind of thought Don would. So I never really dreamt that it would get so wild, so fast... And there’s no real circling back.”
With MacLean attempting to make amends so quickly and Cherry electing not to, some believed that MacLean had thrown his colleague under the bus.
“There’s so many elements to this... I had to pick what was what I felt [was] right over friendship,” MacLean said. “That just doesn’t appeal to the heart. People want loyalty. People want friends for life...”
MacLean also mentioned that he’s sent some emails to Cherry since, but the two aren’t in contact at this time. He hopes that time will help to heal their relationship.
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