Bombastic hockey commentator – and former NHL coach – Don Cherry has inadvertently found himself mired in Canada’s controversial seal hunt after making a wisecrack about industry during a weekend broadcast. The colourful co-host of CBC’s Coach’s Corner, verbally smacked co-anchor Ron MacLean as a “barbarian” for eating seal meat.
During the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast MacLean asked Cherry to guess what he had for lunch while at an event in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where the seal hunt is part of life.
“I know, I heard – you’re eating a seal. A little baby seal,” Cherry said. “What are you, a savage? A barbarian?”
“I had a seal burger, and the only challenge for Todd Perrin, the chef, (at Mallard Cottage) was it was hard to know when to ‘flipper,'” MacLean joked.
Cherry didn’t laugh. And social media exploded. Some appreciated what Cherry had to say. Others, including Canada’s federal Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq were outraged.
Sealing is important to Inuit culture and tradition. Mr. Cherry’s comments last night were hurtful and insensitive. I hope he apologizes.
— Leona Aglukkaq (@leonaaglukkaq) February 8, 2015
He did, sort of, through a series of tweets.
1) Evidently I upset some people about my seal burger comments. I would like to try to explain my comments. Not because I was told to — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) February 8, 2015
2) or forced to. I do it because I feel I have hurt the feelings of some people I like and admire. I have friends who hunt deer and ducks — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) February 8, 2015
3) and I myself have eaten venison and duck meat. Just the same as people who hunt seals and eat seal meat. I have no problem with my — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) February 8, 2015
4) friends who are hunters and eat venison and duck. Just the same, as I have no problem, with people who hunt seals and seal meat. — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) February 8, 2015
5) I do however find it very unusual, in my world, that a person would go into a restaurant and order a seal burger for lunch. — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) February 8, 2015
6) I meant no disrespect to the hunters who hunt and eat seal meat just like I have no disrespect for the hunters who hunt deer and duck — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) February 8, 2015
7) and eat their meat. Again, I do this explanation because I want to. I have hurt some people’s feelings that I like and admire. — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) February 8, 2015
8) If this explanation isn’t good enough, then let the cards fall where they may. — Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) February 8, 2015
So there you have it. A fittingly Canadian animal rights controversy with a dash of hockey on the side. And, here’s where you can hear it. The exchange starts at the 40-second mark.
Photo Don Cherry/Twitter