Barstool Sports’ NHL podcast “Spittin Chiclets” recently addressed the Cherry situation. Former NHLers Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette, along with longtime Barstool contributor RA, touched on bigger societal problems as well. The full video goes for almost 30 minutes, so here are some highlights that should be emphasized.
Whitney believed Cherry was wrong and the worst part of his comments were, “you people”. He mentioned that Cherry has made xenophobic comments in the past. However, Whitney defended Cherry is in this regard.
“If you’re gonna tell me Don Cherry is a racist, I think you’re f**king full of s**t,” said Whitney. “Do you know what Don Cherry has done for veterans, police, anyone out there protecting Canada, putting their life on the line? The tears he shown in describing fallen soldiers in his career in ‘Hockey Night in Canada’.” Whitney also pointed out, “Don Cherry’s done more for veterans in Canada than any other living Canadian. And he’s made an impact his entire life helping people.”
Whitney acknowledged that Cherry has crossed the line with his comments, including this most recent controversy. However, he believed calling him a racist goes too far. Whitney also feels Cherry’s good deeds should not be ignored because of controversial statements he has made.
One of the most compelling parts of this clip was when they discussed RA’s blog. Whitney did not “necessarily agree with a lot of the things you said, but I’m cool with you saying them. I’m very open to people believing and doing whatever they want. There isn’t enough of that.”
Whitney was annoyed with the double standard that exists with only calling out certain people for their mistakes. Whitney and RA also disagreed on what qualifies as “Cancel Culture”.
It is surprising that someone who has been involved with Barstool Sports for years does not realize the power of cancel culture. Just look into Kirk Minihane’s story and you will learn all about the reality of cancel culture.
After they hashed out their disagreements, Whitney made a great point towards the end of the clip.
“You can be very, very passionate about anything in life without despairing the people who don’t agree with you,” Whitney said. “That is the easiest thing in the world to do. I love this. I care about this. This is what I believe in, but I don’t hate you if you don’t believe in it.”
Don Cherry might have crossed the line with his comments. But if you are really offended by him, do not tune in to watch him. Nobody is forcing you to consume his thoughts.
The Cherry firing points out a growing problem in our society. Too many people want to silence others who share differing opinions. This rush to fire media members for speaking their minds is not productive. We should want broadcasters and writers to be bold with their opinions. If they start to hold back how they really feel the viewers will be the ones who lose out.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones