During his NHL playing career from 2001-2012, Sean Avery created plenty of controversy for everything from a “sloppy seconds” remark about his ex-girlfriends dating other players to alleged comments about Jason Blake’s battle with leukemia to the front-of-the-net behavior that led to the NHL making a rule based on him. Well, Avery is continuing to make those headlines post-career as well. He’s been working in advertising, fashion and modelling, and he showed up on fubo Sports Network‘s Drinks with Binks this week to talk to host Julie Stewart-Binks about a range of topics, including Don Cherry’s firing from Sportsnet (which has led to a whole lot of further developments, including Cherry showing up on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show and a man vandalizing a Toronto cenotaph in support of Cherry).

Stewart-Binks has supported the firing, but Avery took a very different tack:

“To hang him out to dry at this point, because he said something…” Stewart-Binks chimes in with “Let’s remember, it wasn’t necessarily just one thing, as you acknowledged,” and Avery goes on with “Yeah, he said many things, but I don’t know, I mean, was it that bad? I don’t know.” Stewart-Binks then says “I think it was offensive enough, on top of the…” and Avery cuts her off with “To who? To the Twitter brigade? To the blue checkmarks?”

Stewart-Binks says “To the immigrants in Canada. I think a lot of people who are fans of the game who aren’t necessarily from that prototypical background that Don Cherry thinks, a lot of people really love the game and love Canada and felt that they were being targeted for where they come from.” Avery then goes on to say “That’s because the social media trolls and the heroes of the world automatically made this assumption that Don Cherry’s a racist.” Stewart-Binks says “Well, he did it himself,” and Avery says “Well, he didn’t, really. Because I don’t believe Don Cherry is a racist man.” Stewart-Binks says “How come? He blatantly said it on TV.”

Avery says “I don’t think that his words were racist. I think if you saw Don Cherry, and you’re an immigrant and Don Cherry was walking into a Tim Hortons, I believe Don Cherry would stop and open the door and hold the door for anyone,” and Stewart-Binks says “I’m sure he would,” and Avery says “I don’t think that, so, so, the root of Don Cherry is he’s not a racist man.” Stewart-Binks says “The language, then you don’t say ‘You people that come here from other countries,'” and Avery says “Don Cherry is a man that hasn’t evolved with modern talk, speaking. He’s an older man.” Stewart-Binks says “This is moral, this is not like a little thing, it’s just treating people with respect and dignity,” and Avery says “Right, but we all have grandparents who I think haven’t evolved with the modern times, and I wouldn’t say that grandparent, your grandfather’s a racist. You know, I cut people a little bit of slack. And I think Grapes, he was an incredible entertainer for a long time.”

As many people have pointed out, though, including Stewart-Binks earlier this week, this isn’t about one incident with Cherry, but rather about a pattern of behavior over the years:

And the crowd in favor of Cherry’s firing got some more ammunition Friday from a 1990 video of Cherry making further remarks against immigrants:

At any rate, Avery’s clearly in the other camp. And it’s certainly interesting to hear him and Stewart-Binks go back and forth on this. Avery also made some rather unusual remarks about concussions, suggesting that some of what hockey players are dealing with there is about “boredom”:

And he lobbied to take Cherry’s spot:


There’s no real evidence that Avery would even be considered for this kind of role, especially as he hasn’t done a lot of sports TV to this point. But his comments here certainly would have him not very well-received by many if he did get it.

The full Avery interview will air on this week’s Drinks with Binks, Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on fubo Sports Network.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.