Rogers had no corporate alternative but to fire Don Cherry from Hockey Night in Canada

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      When a high-profile employee undermines a corporate brand across the country, he or she should expect disciplinary action.

      But if this employee refuses to publicly apologize and make amends, that's a surefire way to be shown the door.

      And so it went today with Don Cherry, who was bounced off Hockey Night in Canada two days after making xenophobic comments on his regular Coach's Corner segment.

      The owner of the Hockey Night in Canada franchise, Rogers, may have a mostly white board of directors, but its corporate messaging is all about diversity

      I suspect the executives were privately worried that Cherry's ranting about "you people" on national television elevated the possibility of Rogers losing phone and cable subscribers to its corporate competitors.

      It was an easy decision—axe the 85-year-old Cherry and retain the customer base.

      Don't kid yourself. This was a move by Rogers, not by its Sportsnet subsidiary, no matter how it's being spun to the media.

      Video: Here's how Rogers likes to market itself to Canadians.

      Rogers had an urgent need to protect its brand. That's why the corporation couldn't even wait until after Remembrance Day to send Cherry packing.

      The company's share price is up more than one percent on the day, reaching $62.79.

      There will likely be a backlash among Cherry's supporters, but they're not the core of Rogers' customer base.

      Keep in mind that the corporation is more interested in selling cellphone plans and operating a successful professional sports business in Toronto than the loss of some older viewers on Hockey Night in Canada.

      Rogers likely learned from the past that it's not wise to let these situations fester and grow.

      Back in 2010, the corporation owned Maclean's magazine, which ran a cover story called "Too Asian" about Canadian universities.

      It created an uproar.

      In response, the magazine added a question mark after the words "Too Asian", but that didn't quell the outrage. Motions were passed at some city councils demanding an apology, which was never provided.

      It was a lesson in how not to respond when a corporation has offended minority communities.

      Earlier this year, Rogers sold its magazine division to the publisher of Toronto Life, so it will never have to deal with that problem again from the Maclean's editors.

      Comments