Daniel Kligerman

Walking the Earth

Don Cherry is an Entertainer

In case you missed it, Don Cherry wasted no time in offending three former NHL enforcers during his first appearance of the season. Cherry referred to them using colourful language (for prime-time, kid-watched TV), and said directly that the former players were hypocrites for making their careers as enforcers, and then blaming the fighting for their current mental and physical health issues. The players in question all said how offended they were, and are looking into legal action.

Ultimately, what this comes down to is that Don Cherry is an entertainer, and nothing more. He will say whatever he needs to say to draw attention to himself, because that’s what increases his ratings. Cherry has no motivation to be balanced, or to apologize, or even to be rational: expecting him to be or do any of these things is only causing people much frustration.

That is not to say that Cherry should not be held accountable for making false, potentially slanderous statements–he should. Especially if holding him to account ends up limiting his ability to speak further on this topic, since that is really the only thing that will hit him where it counts.

Ironically, the fact that Cherry is an entertainer parallels the enforcer’s reason for existence in the first place: fighting in hockey only exists because NHL hockey is, above all else, entertainment. Those who argue that fighting adds to the sport itself are kidding themselves; if that was the case, why is Olympic or World Junior hockey so great? So in the end, what we are dealing with here are a bunch of entertainers being offended by another entertainer. Yes, one is wrong and the others are right, but seeing them in that context makes them much less about the sport of hockey, and more of a side show to the side show.

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