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Complaints about Don Cherry’s ‘you people’ remark overwhelm broadcast standards body

Don Cherry all decked out in Canada's red and white on Canada Day  on Saturday July 1, 2017.
Don Cherry all decked out in Canada's red and white on Canada Day on Saturday July 1, 2017.

The organization that maintains broadcast standards says it can no longer handle anymore complaints about Don Cherry’s “you people” comment that he made on live television Saturday.

“The (Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council) has received a large number of very similar complaints concerning Coach’s Corner broadcast on CBC (Sportsnet) on November 9, 2019, exceeding the CBSC’s technical processing capacities,” a notice on the website read.

“Accordingly, while the CBSC will be dealing with this broadcast under its normal process, it is not able to accept any further complaints.”

It’s unclear how many complaints the CBSC received exactly, as no one responded to the National Post’s interview requests by publication time.

Cherry insinuated that immigrants weren’t “good Canadians” because he saw so few people in downtown Toronto wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day, during a Coach’s Corner segment of Hockey Night in Canada.

“You people … love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy.” He then began pointing his finger at the camera, “These guys paid for your way of life, the life you enjoy in Canada. These guys paid the biggest price.”

Cherry’s comments sparked outrage on social media, accusing him of being racist and creating an “us versus them” mentality.

The hockey personality caught so much flak, the president of Sportsnet issued an apology Sunday morning.

“Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network,” Bart Yabsley wrote. “We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”

Cohost Ron MacLean, who sat idly while Cherry went on his rant, also issued an apology Sunday.

“I want to sincerely apologize to our viewers and Canadians,” he tweeted. “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.”

People also criticized MacLean, the good-natured foil to the sometimes-fanatic Cherry, for his complacency during the show.


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