Don Cherry further erodes his brand

So I was eating breakfast this morning before heading off on my bicycle to the local Marxist-Leninist meeting when I opened the newspaper and nearly spat granola all over my Birkenstocks.

So I was eating breakfast this morning before heading off on my bicycle to the local Marxist-Leninist meeting when I opened the newspaper and nearly spat granola all over my Birkenstocks.

On Tuesday, hockey icon Don Cherry marched over to Toronto city hall for Rob Ford‘s mayoral inauguration and delivered one of the more ridiculous, brain cell-killing political speeches I’ve ever been subjected to.

Wearing pink — “for all the Pinkos out there” — Cherry lambasted the “left-wing” media and “people who ride bicycles” with a series of lines that could only have come from the Sarah Palin Guide to Reaching the Lowest Common Denominator. He closed with: “put that in your pipe, you left-wing kooks.” One wonders if, in Don Cherry Land, he can also see Russia from his house.

And with that, Cherry officially became a caricature of himself. Cherry has always been over-the-top, and when his rants were confined to hockey, nobody paid him much attention. Sure he’d get some bad press (or was it good?) occasionally, when he’d rip some European player or make a borderline misogynistic or homophobic comment or gesture. Right or wrong, most would shrug it off as “Don being Don.”

As he wades deeper into the political spectrum seemingly by the day, however, Cherry is finding new, higher-profile ways of embarrassing himself. Worse for him, he’s also eroding his brand.

When I was a kid, one of the reasons I would look forward to Christmas or birthdays was because I knew the latest Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Hockey was on the way. Man, I would watch those VCR tapes over and over again, marveling at the big hits and even bigger saves (I was a goalie). I’d also make a point of never, ever going to get a snack during Coach’s Corner.

As Cherry ages, he clearly cares less and less about pissing people off. When he finally admitted he was a Maple Leafs fan, all he did was provide ammunition to fans of every other Canadian team who argued HNIC was too Toronto-centric.

Now, he’s alienating anyone who doesn’t lean hard right along the political spectrum.

Cherry thinks he is doing everyone a favour by telling it like it is. He obviously fancies himself a patriot. Problem is, spewing garbage the way he did at city hall has nothing to do with patriotism or common sense. If anything, crapping on someone else’s stance and then shouting misinformation over him (something Cherry is good at) so he can’t be heard is detrimental to the advancement of this country.

What ever happened to talking about issues? Why must it always be “pinko” this, or “commie” that? How would Don Cherry like it if everyone called him a fascist? Don, you can care about the planet without cheering for Fidel Castro and you can ride your bike to Bay Street.

Turns out, the latest group Cherry has alienated with his comments are people with a modicum of common sense.

When I watch Hockey Night in Canada, I want to watch and think about hockey. If Don Cherry is so into politics now — and the climate certainly caters to his shallow, bombastic type at this point in time — he should resign and go run for office.

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