Canadians pride themselves of being a gentler quieter version of our neighbours to the south.
Where we stand alone to not only the United States is our love and passion for the game of hockey. It's our game—we invented it and we're the best at it.
That revisionist history often blurs our love for a game into a sense of nationalism. Last Saturday, we proved that our blind passion can get in the way of our sensibilities. On CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, broadcaster Don Cherry took a cheap shot at Alex Ovechkin that stretched beyond the boards of hockey into a flat out racist attack. Cherry criticized Alex Ovechkins flamboyant behaviour on the ice and suggested that he would one day pay a price for his actions.
He urged Canadian children not to play the game of hockey like Ovechkin does but rather to do so in the more traditional Canadian mode. His next video clip was of a hockey player no one every heard of or ever paid to watch play get involve in a fight.
I ask if any broadcaster went on a U.S. television or radio station and said, "These Japanese and Dominicans are ruining the game of baseball," how long would that person remain employed?
Yet here in Canada on a publicly funded broadcasting network, we allow a person to come on every week and make blatant racist, slanderous comments to people of minority.
The argument of its "US" against the "Russians" has been dead for a while, hasn't it? Yet unfortunately, Cherry continues to deliver this outdated message.
Do most agree? I hope not.
The optimist in me says that people watch him because they just like to see the guy go off and feel for the most part that his comments don't bother anyone. It's unfortunate that we don't have a higher standard of expectation in terms of what gets put on the air. Perhaps if we did we could spend more time celebrating the athletes who are dynamic, enthusiastic and great salesman for the game.
Athletes like Alex Ovechkin.