Overwhelmed with complaints about Don Cherry, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) is saying it cannot take any more submissions.
The council has “received a large number of very similar complaints” about this past weekend’s viral Coach’s Corner segment, in which Cherry complained about the supposed lack of people wearing poppies to honour Canada’s soldiers, singling out those he believes are immigrants.
The rush of complaints about his rant has overwhelmed the CBSC’s “technical processing capacities.”
“Accordingly, while the CBSC will be dealing with this broadcast under its normal process, it is not able to accept any further complaints,” said a statement posted Monday on the CBSC website.
In the Nov. 9 clip aired during Hockey Night in Canada, Cherry singled out people living in downtown Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario — two places with some of the country’s largest immigrant populations.
“You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
Co-host Ron MacLean is seen nodding alongside him.
MacLean issued an apology by Sunday evening, calling Cherry’s comments “hurtful and prejudiced.”
“I wish I had handled myself differently,” MacLean wrote. “It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it.”
Cherry’s employer Sportsnet had issued a statement by Sunday morning, calling his comments “discriminatory” and “offensive.”
“Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network,” the statement said. “We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”
Statement from Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/QZ76r9Y7sb
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 10, 2019
But Canada has yet to hear from Cherry himself.
His comments were roundly criticized by politicians such NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Brampton MPP Gurratan Singh, and Brampton regional councillor Gurpreet Singh Dhillon, as well as the National Hockey League.
PS I bought my poppy should I send you a copy of the receipt?
— Gurpreet Singh Dhillon (@gurpreetdhillon) November 10, 2019
For @CoachsCornerDC to say that “you people” do not respect 🇨🇦 or our veterans is despicable. We’re proud of diverse cultural heritage and we‘ll always stand up for it. New immigrants enrich our country for the better. We’re all Canadians and wear our poppies proudly.
— Bonnie Crombie 🇨🇦 (@BonnieCrombie) November 10, 2019
Mr. Cherry should come to Old City Hall tomorrow where he would see thousands of Canadians of all ages, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds honouring our veterans and demonstrating their love for Canada and our precious way of life, as they do every year.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) November 10, 2019
WE people fought for OUR shared freedoms, even when they were denied to us
Bukham Singh, a Sikh, enlisted, fought & died for Canada in #WW1 despite facing racism that lives on in your comments
We won't have our love for Canada questioned 🇨🇦pic.twitter.com/w3LqqEzAv6
— Gurratan Singh (@GurratanSingh) November 10, 2019
Statement from the National Hockey League regarding Don Cherry’s comments Saturday night: pic.twitter.com/zt57sLy5Fa
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 10, 2019
The CBSC website notes that the council itself — a nationwide, self-regulatory body created by private broadcasters — does not “monitor or censor” any programming.
“It only reviews broadcasts when it receives complaints from listeners or viewers who have heard or seen something that concerns them,” the website says.
Global News has reached out to CBSC for comment.
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