I never understood the appeal of Don Cherry. Oh I know he knew a lot about hockey. He had been a player and a coach so he knew the game inside out. But unfortunately during his 37 years for getting paid to comment on hockey, Mr. Cherry used his platform to mouth off on a variety of social issues. His comments usually provoked upset. Much like his flamboyant clothes which hurt the eyes, Cherry's words often upset one group of society or another.
Canada is not alone in having such a provocateur. Every country has that one journalist or famous person or politician who is not afraid to gain notoriety by promoting an us and them mentality. Finding a convenient scape goat is an easy way to gain more popularity with certain sections of society- those who are struggling, those who are unemployed, those who have been taught to see the world as us and them. It is convenient to blame those who are not like us. And it is even easier when someone who has a public platform expresses those beliefs for us. These provocateurs gain a following. Some people believe fully in what they say, others listen to just to see what outrageous thing the person will say next. But for whatever reason these buffoons have a following.
This past weekend though, Don Cherry said one thing too much. Cherry's comments about new Canadians not supporting the Canadian way of life by not wearing poppies was one outlandish statement too far. He was fired from his position as a broadcaster and at least temporarily has lost his platform. One promoter of hate and division has been silenced.
Unfortunately though that is not the end of divisive speech. The world has too many promoters of an us and them ideology. Someone will surely take Don Cherry's place. And unfortunately those of us who do not share the belief of "divisionism" are to blame. Too often we just sit back and let others spread messages of hate. We are afraid of making a scene. We are afraid to call them out. For instance, I just sat back for 37 years and let Don Cherry make his heated rants. I stopped watching hockey: I never wrote a letter to Hockey Night in Canada to complain about Don Cherry. Too many others sat back and did not complain either. Maybe if more letters of upset had been received by CBC and Sportsnet earlier, maybe Don Cherry would have been fired years ago. Because many of us sat back, Cherry's hurtful comments were allowed to continue for nearly four decades. Hopefully we will all speak sooner rather than later so that hate might end. Blessings.
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