I'm Mad as Hell


and I can't do a thing about it

The Cherry on Top

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.


Filed under: Media Commentary, Political Commentary, , , , , , ,

6 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    LOL are you for real writing about Cherry like this LOL . I am in the United States . Hockey is my favorite sport for 40 Years. If you are seriously writing this article asking questions like this you must not be a long time Hockey fan. Second if you want to write about media So how do you find someone like Jon Stewart? Pedaling Satire at night that young people take serious? there is real challenge for you to write about.
    Don is an Icon so what if he spouts off. Free speech does exist in Canada to ya know. My other thought is when you have contributed to Hockey what Don Cherry has then you might get it!
    good luck WNC Puckdrop@Facebook. wncpuckdrop@twitter. Just saying this respectfully to you Attack a hockey icon that entertains Fans. Enough said!

  2. Dave says:

    You expect the people at Hockey Night in Canada to do the right thing?

    The folks that lost the iconic theme song over apparently $150,000 in rights?

    Not that the Tories are starving the CBC, oh no.

  3. JohnR says:

    Talk about sour grapes.
    He is an entertainer first and foremost. It is about ratings and that is why he is allowed to be a shameless shill for all things Leafs. The ROC puts up with it ..for the entertainment. Not a lot of that available on the Ceeb.

    The military aspect. You are plain wrong. Canadians have absolutely no other venue that in a timely fashion recognizes and honours the deaths of Canadians during military service. The Highway of Heroes might be an ongoing clue for you.

    Your good friend is just another unnamed source, of drivel. I suspect that like him, you are not a fan of Cherry or even Rob Ford. Now with Mr. Ignatieff evidently channeling Rob Ford, who you going to have tea with?

  4. Ohara says:

    Don Cherry is so out of touch with hockey. Fans may still watch him, but it’s for the same reason we rubberneck for highway accidents. Cherry used to draw people to the intermission. Today he drives away the same amount of people he draws.
    And in response to Michael, Cherry contributed to the great game at one point, he is long passed his prime and CBC must phase him out. He is a shell of his former self. His racist rants, acting or not, should not be tolerated by his employer.

  5. Phyl G says:

    The way I explained it to my friends in the U.S., after Cherry’s appalling “guest appearance” at Toronto City Hall, was this: if we think the right-wingnuts hate the CBC now, it’s nothing compared to what they’d do if the CBC got rid of him. It would simply “prove” to them what a “leftist” institution the CBC is. And the impetus to destroy it utterly would multiply a thousandfold.

    I used to enjoy Cherry, but in recent years he has become such a racist, hateful bigot that I can’t stand him. And since his appearance at City Hall, I now refuse to watch Hockey Night in Canada again until he is gone. Gone and SILENT.

  6. OMG, you don’t know the story about CHERRY BOMB???? OMG.

    snip snip: Does it not seem odd to anyone that Don Cherry, who always played the average Joe, got so wrapped up in neoconservatism, the revolt of the rich against society?

    I mean he’s everywhere. Campaigning for Julian Fantino, endorsing Rob Ford. He’ll probably be lending his blubber to Kingston’s local conservative candidate.

    Many are just calling him a senile old crank, trying to capture a bit of the limelight, and while that may be true, there is another reason. Stephen Harper and the boys made this man a lot of money. More money than I’ll ever see in a lifetime. And now he owes them.

    How you ask? Pull up a chair. I want to tell you a story.

    The Backroom Deal of the Century



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