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Don Cherry Leaves Sportsnet After Anti-Immigrant Rant

“Backlash ensued over Cherry’s comments, leading to a statement of disapproval from the NHL and an apology from his employer Sportsnet.”

Brandon Contes

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Former NHL coach and often unfiltered commentator, Don Cherry gave an offensive rant during Sportsnet’s Hockey Night in America Saturday night, alleging Canadian immigrants don’t show enough public support for the military. By Monday afternoon, the network announced that Cherry would be stepping down from his role on Hockey Night in Canada.

Every year in Canada, from the last Friday in October, leading up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, poppies are sold to be worn as pins. Remembrance Day honors the sacrifices made by Canada’s military and the poppies are sold to raise money for veterans. 

Cherry took issue with the lack of visible poppies being worn in public and portrayed immigrants as the lead cause. 

“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. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

Cherry’s Sportsnet co-host Ron MacLean seemed supportive of the rant, offering a thumbs up at the end. 

Backlash ensued over Cherry’s comments, leading to a statement of disapproval from the NHL and an apology from his employer Sportsnet.

After first giving Cherry’s comments a vote of confidence with a thumbs up, Ron MacLean apologized Sunday evening on Twitter. “I want to sincerely apologize to our viewers and Canadians. During last night’s broadcast, Don made comments that were hurtful and prejudiced and I wish I had handled myself differently. It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it,” MacLean wrote. “I have worked with Don for 30 years, and we both love hockey. But last night, I know we failed you. I see hockey as part of what unites us. I have the honour of travelling across our country to celebrate Canada’s game, and our diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths.”

By Monday, Sportsnet and Don Cherry had decided to part company. “Sports brings people together – it unites us, not divides us,” Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley wrote in an official statement. “Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down.  During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.”

“Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years,” he added. “We would like to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada.”

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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Bob Costas Gets Choke Up While Telling a Vin Scully Story

“Just the pure love and connection was so touching,” Costas said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Bob Costas

The sports world was saddened to learn of broadcasting legend Vin Scully’s passing on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, tributes across sports media to the Dodgers icon came pouring in. Some could only hold in their emotions to the news but so well.

Bob Costas appeared on High Heat on MLB Network to remember his friend, and when talking about a particular memory that stood out in his mind, Costas got choked up.

The memory was from November 2016 when Scully received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President Barack Obama. Costas said Scully invited him and his wife Jill to attend the ceremony at the White House.

After the ceremony, and following an interview for CBS Sunday Morning, Costas said something wonderful happened.

“When Vin Scully walked back out of the Rose Garden and back into the White House, the conductor of the Marine Corps Band spots him and immediately he cues the band to play Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Costas said. “But then he hands Vin the baton and Vin steps up on the podium and he’s at least figuratively conducting the Marine Corps Band.”

Costas said Scully’s wife, Sandy, photographed the moment, and then Costas started tearing up.

“Just the pure love and connection was so touching,” Costas said.

In the moment, Costas caught himself and tried to regain his composure.

“I can’t believe I’m choking up,” he said. “You’re not supposed to do that. Be professional, Bob.”

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Joe Buck Says He Tried to Convince Vin Scully to Call Part of the World Series on FOX

“If I could somehow… pay homage to somebody who’s that great and let them take my spot, man that would’ve been in the weirdest way one of the highlights of my career,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Vin Scully

Vin Scully is widely regarded as one of the greatest broadcasters ever and for good reason.

Even in his later years, Scully still knew how to captivate an audience while riding solo in the broadcast booth.

Joe Buck, remembering Scully in an interview on the Sports Media podcast with Richard Deitsch, said he did his darndest to try and get Vin in the booth during the World Series one more time.

“I tried to go through intermediaries to get him to do it,” Buck said. “I said we’ll make it as easy as possible.”

But Buck said it was likely the fact that Scully didn’t want to be a distraction and work with people he’s unfamiliar with that it never happened.

“You’re coming into a completely foreign situation, and now somebody’s talking in your ear, you have no idea who the hell that is, you’re working with a director you’ve never worked with, and you’re working with an analyst you’ve never worked with and what have you,” Buck said. “But just his voice and that cadence and that rhythm and that ability to just weave stories in and whatever would’ve been so great.”

Had the moment happened, Buck said there would’ve been zero chance he’d have stayed in the booth with Scully.

“I would’ve been in the lunchroom watching it,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been hovering. I would have been gone.”

Buck, like so many others in sports media, had a unique relationship with Scully. Buck said he felt like giving Vin one more chance to be on the microphone for a World Series game was the best thing he could’ve done to recognize an icon.

“If I could somehow, because I saw it in my own home, pay homage to somebody who’s that great and let them take my spot, man that would’ve been in the weirdest way one of the highlights of my career,” he said.

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ESPN Will Honor Vin Scully By Airing Iconic 1988 World Series Game 1 Tonight

ESPN will air an encore presentation of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series as a tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scull

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Vin Scully

ESPN will air an encore presentation of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series as a tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully. The network will air the game tonight, August 3 at 8pm ET on ESPN2.

The 1988 World Series was between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics. Scully was on the call for the classic game which is notable for an injured Kirk Gibson coming off the bench and hitting a walk-off home run.

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