Monday, February 23, 1998
CBC says it won't fire Cherry for remarks about separatistsOTTAWA (CP) -- The CBC says it has no intention of firing Don Cherry for comments the Bloc Quebecois says deserve a gross misconduct penalty.
Bloc MP Michel Gauthier says the bombastic sports commentator should be fired from the CBC for his comments about freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard and separatists generally.
But Jim Byrd, CBC vice-president for English Television, said the Crown corporation has no intention of firing him.
Cherry called Brassard a "French guy, some skier nobody knows about" during one of his Coach's Corner hockey intermission tirades from the Nagano Winter Olympics and he called sovereigntists "a bunch of whiners."
Cherry was offering his opinion after a Bloc MP said there were too many Canadian flags at Olympic sites.
Brassard also commented that he regretted carrying the flag at the opening ceremony because it affected his competition.
"It's a funny thing, they don't want the Canadian flag but they want our money," said Cherry. "I've never seen such a bunch of whiners in my life....These people are whiners. If they want to leave, why don't they leave?"
Gauthier said Monday in the Commons that Cherry has no place on the public airwaves and had a French broadcaster said something similar about an English Canadian athlete, he would have been sacked on the spot.
"The insulting statements made by Don Cherry about Quebecers on CBC says a lot about the narrow-mindedness of Mr. Cherry," Gauthier said. "These were very unjustified remarks and they go well beyond the ethics that should be allowed of a sports commentator and what can be said on radio.
"Such an insulting attitude as that shown by Don Cherry should not be shown on radio or television and should be denounced by the government and the Crown corporation."
But CBC's Byrd said that as a commentator, Cherry "is hired to express his opinions which are invariably strong ones, and not necessarily those of the CBC.
"He expresses these opinions colorfully, spontaneously, and sometimes even outrageously," Byrd added.