Some people will read the following and say, ‘Of course he did.’ Others will read the following and say, ‘That makes a lot of sense, actually.’ I suppose all of that depends on how you view Don Cherry after he was let go from Sportsnet.
Cherry, who no longer has the Hockey Night in Canada platform, isn’t shy about commenting on the game of hockey and what’s going on around the NHL since his release. The latest comments come in respect to the shocking reports that Mike Babcock singled-out Mitch Marner when Marner was a rookie, bringing his player to tears.
Babcock was accused of alienating Marner by asking him to make a list of the player’s effort-level on the team and then shared that list with the team. Babcock called it an attempt to motivate Marner and others which went sideways and apologized for doing so. Cherry chimed in on Tuesday with his take.
Through an interview with Joe Warmington of the Sun, Cherry said:
“He shouldn’t have done that with Mitch. I wouldn’t never have put a player in that position but those players bravely commenting now didn’t have the guts to say anything when Babcock was in charge. They are only saying it now that he has no power.”
Context is important, said Cherry.
“He made a mistake. Coaches don’t get every decision right,” said Grapes. “But he thought it was something that would inspire his team and it didn’t work.”
Cherry’s Not Wrong… Kind Of
Agreeing or disagreeing with Cherry here is hardly a black and white scenario. Babcock is going to take a lot of heat for what he did and there are reports that more stories may come out about his treatment of players. They should. If these players were crumbling under the weight of authority and didn’t feel they had the right or power to say anything at the time, does that mean the stories shouldn’t see the light of day? Of course not.
At the same time, is it right for people to jump all over Babcock for things that happened a long time ago? Maybe, but not everyone will agree.
Really, in the end, there needs to be something done by the NHL to ensure that players have an outlet or place they can go when they feel like they’ve been abused or mistreated. If emotional abuse or abuse of authority happens, players need to know they’ll be looked after and not scared to speak up. At the same time, the NHL needs to have a system in place that doesn’t allow players to fabricate stories in the event someone wants a coach fired or reprimanded if unwarranted.
All that said, if the issues are race or discriminatory in nature — as the allegations against Bill Peters suggest — there’s no statute of limitations on being a racist piece of garbage. We can only hope Peters didn’t actually do what he’s being accused of, but it’s not looking so good right now.