NHL

Bettman unwilling to 'start another news cycle' on Cherry

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese, File)

TORONTO (AP) NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman declined to elaborate Monday on commentator Don Cherry's polarizing remarks and dismissal, saying the matter has been sufficiently covered.

"I believe the CBC has had a number of statements, we've had a number of statements, Don has spoken and I'm not going to start another news cycle," Bettman said during a panel discussion at the PrimeTime sports management conference.

The 85-year-old commentator was fired a week ago for calling immigrants "you people" in a television rant in which he said new immigrants are not honoring the country's fallen soldiers. His firing by Sportsnet has dominated Canadian news.

The league earlier described Cherry's comments as "offensive and contrary to the values we believe in."

The commissioner said Sportsnet broadcaster Ron MacLean "spoke from the heart" during his monologue on "Hockey Night in Canada" over the weekend. MacLean opened the first intermission segment - the first since Cherry was fired - by speaking alone for nearly five minutes.

MacLean talked about his close relationship with Cherry but said he had to choose "principle over friendship," adding that Cherry's "Coach's Corner" segment "is no more." Sportsnet is exploring new formats for that slot.

Updated November 18, 2019