He knows suits. He knows dogs. He knows hockey. But he doesn’t know a thing about mortgages. He doesn’t mention that he knows very little about politics, the military, Europe, and a host of other subjects. Unlike mortgages however, it doesn’t stop Don Cherry from fulminating at great length on these subjects.
The time has come to ask the CBC what the heck they are doing allowing Cherry to go on-and-on on any subject other than hockey. I presume he makes the gigantic bucks because of two things: his massive popularity and his knowledge of hockey. So why are hockey fans subjected to his maudlin rants about the military and his ludicrous, bordering on racist, comments about the nature and personality of European and French Canadian hockey players?
I will admit that I’m not a Cherry fan. I tend to disagree with most of what Don Cherry stands for on the ice. He is a dinosaur from a time in hockey and sports that has not existed for many years. His pro-fighting and murderous hitting opinions would be quaint were it not for the number of like minded hockey old timers who still have a major say in the game and if it were not for the frightening number of concussions and major injuries that plague the sport. That said, I recognize the fact that Cherry is very popular. I have seen people stop what they are doing to watch his weekly rants on Hockey Night in Canada. Even people who disagree with him as much, if not more than I do, seem to be drawn to Cherry’s weekly pronouncements. So I understand the CBC’s need to keep him around.
Here’s what I don’t understand. Why does the “People’s” network allow him to go off on tangents that have nothing to do with the game? He was hired to analyze games. He hasn’t done this for a decade or more. He throws in the odd “beauty” play or lesson for the kids, but for the most part his schtick has become an ill-informed civics lesson from a self-declared regular guy.
I am not just against Cherry’s rants. I don’t think any one person should be given a regular platform for their opinion on a network that is owned by the people of Canada. I believe it is the CBC’s duty to allow all kinds of opinion from as many sources as possible. I do not believe Rex Murphy should be allowed his rants on The National, again, just one man’s opinion. I think the national affairs panel on The National should be changed every week to allow different opinions and a more of a cross-section of ideas from across Canada. But at least Murphy and the national affairs panel talk about things they know something about. Cherry?
After a month of Cherry hitting the political trail with PC Candidate, now Member of Parliament, Julian Fantino and then showing his support for Toronto’s new mayor Rob Ford, a good friend of mine put the whole thing in perspective for me. If a “regular guy,” a fan say, got a job on Hockey Night in Canada analyzing the game, how would Cherry react? It is our guess that Cherry would rant long and hard about his half-century or more in organized hockey. He would tell us how people who haven’t played and coached the game of hockey have very little understanding of the decisions that the professionals have to make. He would then go on to make minced meat of the decision by his bosses to add a know-nothing fan to the mix. It would be even worse if the fan disagreed with him.
Let us say, for the purpose of argument, that we agree with Cherry. Then why should we have to listen to what a no-nothing fan of the political system, one who has never run for office, let alone held office, has to say about politics? Further, what are Don’s credentials when it comes to making military decisions? How long was he in officer training school? How many years did he spend on the battlefield?
Perhaps, my friend said, this should be pointed out to Cherry by his bosses at Hockey Night in Canada. This is the argument that needs to be pressed upon him to get him back to talking about hockey and just hockey. Do the producers have the guts to do this? I suspect not. If they do they would have exerted some control on hockey’s biggest blow-hard by now.
So where do we go from here? It’s my guess that Cherry is there, doing what he feels like doing, for the duration. That is, until CBC loses the hockey franchise to another network or Don gets too sick or too old to continue. And while Cherry’s popularity goes without question I do often wonder whether he is worth the pain to the CBC. Canadians love their hockey. If Cherry weren’t there would any hockey fan cease watching the Leafs play the Habs? Cherry is good for the ratings of the first intermission. I suspect he has no affect on the numbers for the actual game. On that basis alone I would like the CBC to act. If Cherry doesn’t like it he can move on into the land of TV commercials and all-sports radio. I for one, would be thankful for his loss.