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Report- Don Cherry May Face Lawsuit

from the Montreal Gazette,

Sources tell The Gazette that the Tennessee law firm Kay, Griffin, Enkema & Colbert will release a statement early Tuesday morning from former NHL players Chris Nilan, Jim Thomson and Stu Grimson indicating the players are not satisfied with Don Cherry’s remarks Saturday night and making clear that they expect a full apology from the CBC commentator.


Update October 11, 2:43 pm ET: Statement from the lawyers:

“Mr. Cherry’s comments were more than inappropriate; they were baseless and slanderous,” the statement said. “Furthermore, Mr. Cherry’s subsequent attempt to qualify his comments on (Saturday) Oct. 8, 2011, was entirely ineffectual.

“Mr. Cherry’s conduct throughout has demonstrated a complete lack of decency.”

The notice did not specify what further action the former hockey players might take nor did it offer a timeline.

*post originally published October 10, 10:43pm ET:
**more commentary earlier today

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry


The Hurricane's avatar

Must be a lawsuit in Canada….is this a defamation case or slander? Either way, it wouldn’t get past any legal litmus test.
Not sure of free speech rights in Canadialand, but the fact that they are ALL public figures makes this potential lawsuit DOA.

Posted by The Hurricane on 10/11/11 at 01:15 AM ET


Wow…what a waste of time this whole fiasco is.

Posted by Iggy_Rules on 10/11/11 at 01:31 AM ET

elphantasmo5000's avatar

no, not at all. former pro athlete doesnt make you a public figure. how you represented yourself while you were a player with the media and to the public will decide that. as former players. who usually arent too outspoken could have a legitimate case. if im not mistaken, grimson is now an attorney and might have a good case for what ever lawsuit he is bringing for it can hurt him and his clients.

Posted by elphantasmo5000 on 10/11/11 at 01:35 AM ET


We will see if the old goat has gone too far this time.

Posted by timbits on 10/11/11 at 01:37 AM ET

elphantasmo5000's avatar

and from the article, if you dared to read it

“While Thomson has made public statements saying clearly that fighting should be banned from the game, Grimson and Nilan have not. In a recent interview with The Gazette’s Red Fisher, in fact, Nilan said quite the opposite.”

so in other words he made up what NIlan said about fighting and grimson has said nothing as of late. that could be a reason

Posted by elphantasmo5000 on 10/11/11 at 01:39 AM ET


Don’t know where Thompson gets off suing (think he said something similar to what Cherry claimed he did) and Nilan probably qualifies as a public figure (he’s got a movie coming out about him) which gives a lot of leeway for people to say bad things about him without getting caught for slander.

Grimson, though, is a retired player whose been out of the public eye for years working at a law firm, and, far as I know, didn’t say anything close to what Cherry said he did. There might be some sickle behind the Reaper’s threat.

Posted by steviesteve on 10/11/11 at 02:14 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

If Grimson and company can show that Cherry’s comments were untrue and damaging to their reputations they might have a cause of action.  It is going to depend heavily on the judge, but I still think it would be a long hill to climb to make it work in court.  They are probably just trying to make enough noise to get CBC to tell Cherry to make a real apology.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 10/11/11 at 02:18 AM ET

Chet's avatar

if these guys think (as i do) that don cherry’s opinions are mainly irrelevant to modern hockey, why are they perpetuating this dustup?

it’s the same as giving sarah palin a lot of press if you’ve already decided she’s retarded. the sooner you stop paying attention to the person saying stupid shit, the sooner people get to stop hearing that person saying more stupid shit…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 10/11/11 at 02:58 AM ET


Let’s forget the personal attacks.  !) Prove malice 2)  Public figures 3)  Damages?  Strike three.  Someone wants to get his name in the paper.  Better take it pro bono.  1/3 of 0 is 0.

This is just silly.  This is entertainment.  And pretty good entertainment too.  I think old Grapes knows what he’s doing.

Posted by 13 user names on 10/11/11 at 03:28 AM ET


3 former NHL tough guys are suing Don Cherry because he called them names. 
Boy our society has sunk to a new low.  I always loved hockey, because it was all about the tough, rugged athletes that played with all sorts of pain and bruises, unlike baseball and basketball players.  I guess they’re all prima donna’s.

Posted by RogerNYLA on 10/11/11 at 03:50 AM ET

Alan's avatar

3 former NHL tough guys are suing Don Cherry because he called them names.
Boy our society has sunk to a new low.

Fun fact: Slander, Defamation of Name, and Defamation of Character are still valid reasons to file a lawsuit.

However, these guys have to prove their case in a court of law.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 10/11/11 at 04:19 AM ET


What a laugh!!!  The anti-fight media lost their steam when the season started and are desperately trying to stay in the limelight…

Does Stu really care about Grapes saying he is “anti-fighting”.  Please…

Posted by Terry Hale from San Jose on 10/11/11 at 06:26 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

Can’t wait to see this weak, phony , hang my head apology….....” gee, fellas I’m sorry…” wink, wink

Posted by Rdwings28 on 10/11/11 at 10:09 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Cherry is a xenophobic meathead who shoots his mouth off regularly without thinking about the consequences. Slowing his spew is a positive thing.

Honestly, the more Cherry talks, the better the case is that hockey needs to protect players from blows to the head. He’s the perfect example of the end result of long-term brain abuse.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 10/11/11 at 10:37 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Does Stu really care about Grapes saying he is “anti-fighting”.  Please…

Posted by Terry Hale from San Jose on 10/11/11 at 04:26 AM ET

No but I’m pretty sure he and Nails would like to silence Cherry for good, and this may in fact be the tool to do that,

In which case, Godspeed fellas…

Posted by Primis on 10/11/11 at 11:20 AM ET


I think old Grapes knows what he’s doing.

How’s it going, person who is what is wrong with this world?

Does Stu really care about Grapes saying he is “anti-fighting”.

I think he’s more annoyed that Grapes called him a hypocrit and a puke and made up shit, attributing it to Grimson, in order to further his garbage argument.

But hey, why would someone be pissed off about that?

Posted by Garth on 10/11/11 at 12:27 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

There’s no ‘public figure’ defence, as such, recognized in Canadian defamation law.

To the extent that Cherry’s comments are directed at the individuals, rather than the issue, they may be actionable. If they can show a loss of reputation, they could also seek a punitive damages award.

But you can’t lose sight of what these guys are actually saying: “give us a real apology, or we’ll consider taking you to court.”

They want Cherry and the CBC to give them a real apology - not this ‘I stand by everything I said, but I guess I was a little rude’ they got Saturday night.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 10/11/11 at 02:35 PM ET


I don’t know if they have to sue him in Canada. HniC is broadcast on the US version of the NHL network in the US as well, including both of these coach’s corners.

Posted by steviesteve on 10/11/11 at 04:55 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

A defamation suit would be easier in Canada than the US. There’s a reason McLibel was in the UK - British legal tradition is easier for such cases.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 10/11/11 at 05:00 PM ET


I expect the CBC lawyers have a good prepackaged response anytime Cherry is attacked for his comments, based on a Supreme Court of Canada case WIC Radio Ltd. v. Simpson, which basically dealt with a radio commentator known for his extreme views. 

Nobody would mistake Cherry’s comments for factual reporting, so his reputation as a wacko helps him.  And the fact we love him doesn’t hurt.

I’m sure Cherry is sleeping soundly…at least more soundly than the producer who let the comments on the air.  What happened to the “Cherry delay” implemented to prevent such controversies?  Was someone asleep, or did the CBC decide Cherry had mellowed and let him go live again?

Posted by Wakakanada on 10/13/11 at 03:29 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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