The Firing of Legendary Sports Broadcaster Don Cherry Didn’t Need to Happen
The opportunity to provide input for CTV Vancouver’s televised news coverage of Sportsnet firing long-time Hockey Night in Canada Coach’s Corner commentator Don Cherry brings to mind my first career as a news broadcaster followed by a career in public relations specializing in spokesperson training and crisis communications management.
Peak on CTV: Alyn Edwards comments Don Cherry’s firing
You have to watch what you say – particularly in this era of instant internet communication.
Don Cherry did himself in – twice.
His ‘you people’ comment aimed at immigrants who don’t purchase poppies to honour Canada’s soldiers, including those who made the supreme sacrifice, was grounds for termination.
But his refusal to apologize was the double whammy. He had to go.
Crisis communications consultants live by two rules:
- When you mess up, you fess up and then you dress up.
- And those who are first out with the information control the message.
Don Cherry did neither.
The day after his dismissal, which took place on Remembrance Day, Cherry seemed unsure of what he had said and took the long way around to say possibly he could have rephrased his rant.
The opportunity to fess up and dress up had clearly passed. The axe had fallen.
Co-host of Coach’s Corner Don Maclean wasted no time in doing the full faceplant mea culpa apology. He needed to do that because he appeared to be nodding in agreement with Cherry’s rant and gave a big thumb’s up when the diatribe ended.
People make mistakes, sometimes say things they don’t mean or phrase things poorly leading to huge misunderstandings.
It’s what they do about it that is remembered.
People won’t forgive and forget without an apology.
Don Cherry made his second mistake when he refused to do that… and the rest is history.