Over the years, CBC hockey commentator / fashion-plate Don Cherry’s been accused of xenophobia, homophobia and perhaps worst of all, giving Craig Sager a sartorial role model to aspire to. During Saturday’s edition of “Coach’s Corner”, Cherry added to his laundry list of offenses, turning a blind eye to hockey’s drug issues (of all things — fast forward to about 6 minutes in), earning the ire of frequent Globe & Mail critic Bruce Dowbiggin.
We’ve been down this road before. Many times. And it’s always wrong. Inconvenient for Cherry’s narrative, hockey’s drug problem is as recent as the accidental overdose from Derek Boogaard in 2011. Regrettably, the league’s rehab department has no shortage of clients. And the NHL has done no drug testing in the postseason or off-season, the period when players would most likely be juicing.
So the drug claim is specious. As well, there are thousands of great role models in other sports, men who are a credit to their families and community. As it is every time he trots it out for public viewing, Cherry’s argument is as flimsy as his own NHL career.
The issue is not Cherry’s accuracy, however. That horse left the barn decades ago. The issue is the integrity of CBC. In the hours following Cherry’s jeremiad there was no attempt by anyone on the network to clear the record. Starting with a mute Ron MacLean on Coach’s Corner, a succession of so-called experts on the network declined to correct Cherry’s patently false comments about drugs in hockey.