He’s become a divisive figure — Don Cherry’s controversial comments that saw him let go from Coach’s Corner have become the centre of many debates.
Now, people in his hometown are having their say. While some have resorted to vandalism to show their disapproval, others are speaking up for the Kingston, Ont. native.
“It was just written across, where ‘Support our Troop’s’, onto Doug’s number 13 there,” says Brian Devoe, describing graffiti spray painted on a mural featuring Don Cherry.
“It just said the word ‘disgrace’.”
Devoe, owner of Svensden’s Automotive in Kingston’s west end, found the graffiti on Wednesday morning. Someone had spray-painted the word ‘disgrace’ on Don Cherry’s image in a mural painted on the side of his business.
“I don’t necessarily agree with him, but our building being vandalized because of his comments, I think is unnecessary,” says Devoe.
“That’s taking things – actions – too far.”
A veteran himself, Devoe had the mural painted 10-years ago to celebrate “everything Kingston and hockey” and was disappointed to see it defaced over Cherry’s comments.
“You know, there are lots of people who make mistakes. Lots of celebrities that make mistakes,” says Devoe. “As long as we learn from those mistakes and we move forward – that’s the way our society should be.”
Jean Chapman in Amherstview, like many across Canada, believes Don Cherry is being vilified.
Chapman saying she thinks Cherry simply misspoke.
“He also said that he misspoke. And he should have said ‘everybody’ – not, just ‘those people’,” she says.
A fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Cherry for decades, Chapman feels the Canadian icon has been treated unfairly by Sportsnet.
“The way he said it wasn’t right. But at the same time he was just trying to get his point across, that a lot of people fought for our freedoms and the rights we have,” says Chapman, “and he believes people should wear poppies.”
“And I agree with him.”
Chapman points out all the good work Cherry has done across Canada and here in Kingston, and is undecided if she can even watch her Leafs, without Coaches Corner.
“I’ll miss my hockey, but you know what, be fair.”
Chapman says veterans fought for Canadians to be able to speak their minds, and if a mistake was made and an apology given — move on.