Many years ago I got in an argument with some family members about whether or not Canadian NHL players “wanted it” (the Stanley Cup) more than other (i.e. European) players. (Funnily enough, “other” didn’t seem to include Americans…)
They ganged up on me because I seemed to be the only person saying that idea was bullshit and because I didn’t have a smart phone and couldn’t pull up Forsberg’s stats or Lidstrom’s Conn Smythe. (And, it wasn’t yet 2018, so I couldn’t pull up pictures of Ovechkin celebrating like a European who didn’t care much about the Stanley Cup.) It felt like they were reciting Don Cherry talking points.
But I wasn’t sure because I haven’t watched more than a few (accidental) seconds of Coach’s Corner in I don’t know how many years. Even when I was still more of a hockey fan than a basketball fan, I always changed the channel.
As a white, Canadian man, it was easy for me to ignore the stuff he said about non-hockey matters (as it was not directed at me). But he didn’t even make sense to me when it came to hockey. (I used to watch HNIC at a friend’s place back in the aughts and I remember I would squirm during the Coach’s Corner segments, because I didn’t have control of the remote.)
That’s why I stopped watching, because what he said about the game didn’t make sense to me, a lot of time. (8 years ago? A decade ago? I have no idea.)
To me, before he was a bigot, he was an old guy who refused to acknowledge that his sport had changed – and was continuing to change – since his and one only successful NHL coaching job (and his very unsuccessful other NHL coaching job).
Obviously, it’s easy for me to get more upset about what he said about hockey than about his implicit and sometimes very explicit bigotry. And I should have been more upset about the latter. (Though I cannot recall a really glaring instance when I still watched Coach’s Corner. I’m sure there were many, but it was easy for me and my white friends to ignore them.)
But what I’m incredulous about today is why somebody who hasn’t made any sense in a very long time lasted until November 2019. As an institution in this country. As The Beaverton put it “Man voted 7th greatest Canadian of all time says 845th racist thing”.
“Don made comments that were hurtful, prejudiced, and downright wrong,” said HNIC co-host Ron MacLean. “And I condemn them just as strongly as I condemned all 844 previous such incidents.”
“But I think we can all agree that repeated, unrepentant racism aside, he’s still a better Canadian than Arthur Currie, Alexander Graham Bell or Neil Young,” he added.– The Beaverton
PS: Has anyone told Don the Chinese have dubbed November 11th “Singles Day”? Young people around the world now celebrate it, rather than Remembrance Day.