TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Talk about sour grapes: Canadian TV hockey commentator Don “Grapes” Cherry lashed out at “left-wing pinkos” Tuesday, sparking protests from Toronto’s city fathers.
Cherry took the microphone at city hall after ushering newly inaugurated mayor Rob Ford into the council chambers, and immediately took aim at the mainstream media for long-standing criticism of his brash, opinionated on-camera delivery.
“You know, it’s funny in those articles, my church, I was made fun of cause I go to church, I’m easy to do it that way,” Cherry, a former Boston Bruins coach before becoming a long-time pundit on state broadcaster CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.
“And I was called maudlin for the troops because I honor the troops, this is the kind of stuff you’re going to be facing Rob with these left-wing pinkos. They scrape the bottom of the barrel,” he continued.
Cherry, who has politicized the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast by featuring long tributes to fallen Canadian troops in Afghanistan and endorsing conservative political candidates, also explained why he wore a brash pink suit to the Ford inauguration.
“I’ve been being ripped to shreds by the left-wing pinko newspapers out there. It’s unbelievable. One guy called me a jerk in a pink suit so I thought I’d wear that for him too today,” he said.
Toronto councilors immediately criticized Cherry for taking aim at his “left-wing” critics in his address.
“I don’t think you belittle people in a public ceremony like this, I think it’s unacceptable,” said Adam Vaughan, a former TV reporter.
Cherry’s tendency to both entertain and insult TV viewers has made his Coaches Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada the most-watched seven minutes on Canadian TV each week.
During the segment, Cherry regularly labels French-speaking Quebecers as “whiners,” and criticizes both European hockey players for being slow to drop the gloves and fight, and Americans for ruining the National Hockey League.
The CBC regularly reminds Cherry’s critics that the TV commentator is under contract, and not a network employee, and so can freely run his mouth off.