Don Cherry was up to his old tricks again last Saturday night. When the topic of fighting was brought up, and how certain supporters are now against fighting, Don proceeded to disparage those people. That is fine, and very much in the scope of Coach’s Corner. However, where things got strange was when Ron MacLean discussed the new information that is being uncovered about the long term effects of head injuries. At this point Don asked Ron what he meant, and even Ron said there was no point of bringing it up. Then when goaded into it, Ron began talking about science to which Don said “shuddap shuddap shuddap”.
On the surface, it was a comical exchange between two long time television broadcasters – something that is better than most intermission shows out there, especially the endless hours of hockey panels. However, for our public broadcaster to have a feature like this, it brings up another discussion.
At what point are Don’s archaic views so out of touch that it looks bad on the CBC, Hockey Night in Canada, the NHL, and Canada in general? It is certainly worth noting that Don seemed to matter more once upon a time when everyone would tune in every Saturday night to hear the gospel of Cherry. He was the drum to which the hockey world beat to. Now however, he has said so many crazy things, and been insensitive so many times, that he is no longer taken seriously.
Thus, why is he still employed? Is it purely ratings? Or does the CBC have some responsibility to put somebody with more credibility and relevance? At this point, after last Saturday every ounce of credibility Don Cherry had is gone (it’s actually more of a testament to how wacko Cherry is that we’re not talking about his slur against young Czech hockey players). The way he constantly talks about fighting, grinders, and obvious defense tactics, the game is passing him by. So is it time for him to go?
For me, he’s done. There was once a time when Don Cherry was one of the most important people in the game. He had the most influence of any media member, and his viewpoints were often unique and honest. Those same viewpoints once valued by his audience, Don is reluctant to change. Thus, those out of touch viewpoints will be his demise. It is now a question of how soon.