Lawsuit possible over Cherry bombs

Former NHL enforcers Stu Grimson, Jim Thomson and Chris Nilan are threatening legal action against...

Former NHL enforcers Stu Grimson, Jim Thomson and Chris Nilan are threatening legal action against Don Cherry (above) for comments he made about them during his Coach's Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada. (STAN BEHAL/QMI Agency file photo)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

TRENTON, ONT. - Why have the recent occurrences in L’Affaire Grapes come as a shock to some people?

Why is it a surprise that Stu Grimson, Jim Thomson and Chris Nilan are exploring the various channels of action available to them?

After all, Grimson is a lawyer. As such, did anyone really think he and the other two former enforcers were going to sit idly by while Cherry, who called them “pukes” and “turncoats” last Thursday, refused to apologize for those words?

Besides, in an interview with QMI Agency last Friday, Cherry insisted he would not say sorry for anything other than using the words “pukes,” feeling such language was inappropriate while kids were watching.

Sure enough, during the ensuing Coach’s Corner on Saturday, he was true to his word.

Grimson, Thomson and Nilan reacted by issuing a statement, Tuesday, through the Tennessee law firm Kay, Griffin, Enkema & Colbert, indicating they would kick tires on the various options available, including legal avenues, against Cherry.

To this point in the controversy, each side has reacted as expected. Or, in sporting vernacular, both parties have “held serve.”

Cherry is never going to budge unless a lawyer and/or the CBC puts a gun to his head. And even if he and the national network were to part ways down the road, don’t you think that TSN or Sportsnet or another network would be waiting for him, contract in hand? Call Cherry “senile” if you like, but he gets ratings. And ratings equal lots of money.

As for Grimson, Thomson and Nilan, they had little choice but to respond to the non-apology. Any silence on their part would add credibility in many people’s eyes to Cherry’s original statements.

So, where does this shinny soap opera go from here?

“That’s hard to answer,” Grimson said from Nashville late Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say we attempted to put (the issue) in (Cherry’s) court.

“We simply were dissatisfied with his initial comments and subsequent comments. We simply are looking at available recourses and what rights there are.”

Deep down inside, the Grimson camp had to know all along the media frenzy the statement would ignite. The word “lawsuit” was subsequently mentioned prominently in reports, even though no papers have yet to be filed.

“It’s premature to draw that conclusion,” Grimson said. “And it’s premature to say we will or will not (pursue the lawsuit avenue).

“Most of the activity took place in Canada so obviously we must look into what our options are there, including under their laws.”

In the event that the Gates of Hades frost over and Cherry says sorry (good luck with that), Grimson isn’t sure that would end the issue.

“An apology would not necessarily end it,” Grimson said, citing Cherry’s “befuddling” explanation as a reason.

Interestingly, Grimson pointed out that, for years, Cherry has monetarily benefited from using the likes of the Grimsons, Thomsons and Nilans in his Rock ‘em Sock ‘em videos. Now, “when we no longer serve his monetary purposes, he elects to toss us under the bus simply because one or two in our group happen to have a slightly different view than him on issues in this area.”

That’s all well and good. But is it worth legal action?

We are visiting a grey area here. After all, if Grimson, Thomson and Nilan can do it, what will keep the Swedish players he allegedly defamed over the years (are you listening, Ulf Samuelsson?) from doing the same? And there are plenty of Cherry critics in Quebec who feel he has delivered anti-Francophone shots for years and would love to jump on the pile.

Through it all, the CBC announced Tuesday that a record 2.359 million viewers tuned in to Saturday’s Maple Leafs-Ottawa Senators broadcast, the most ever for the first Saturday night game of a season.

Let’s be honest. We all suspect those numbers were spiked because an intrigued public tuned in to see how Cherry would address the controversy on Coach’s Corner.

Like him or hate him, the public still watches him. And to date, he has yet to flinch.

Over to you, Stu.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/zeisberger


Videos

Photos