Don Cherry, 50-year NHL commentator was recently fired for a rant. A lot of people are talking about this, but what better person to share his opinion than Daniel Negreanu, a six-time World Series of poker champion, the face of poker for the last 20 years, and a Canadian who is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to hockey.
The controversial comments were as follows: “you people love … you people that come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy or something like that.”
Negreanu says that it is wrong that he was clearly pointing toward immigrants with the separatist phrase “you people that come here.” “I want to give a little background for those of your listeners who maybe don’t understand what Poppy really is. In Canada, we have a tradition. I don’t know if it was as popular here in the U.S. where around Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day, everyone wears a little plastic or red poppy on their lapel. You know, it’s sort of show support for the troops,” Negreanu explained.
“Downtown Toronto is the most multicultural. The small towns are where you have a much more dense, white Canadian population. So even with that, he’s making another sort of attack, if you will, essentially on the patriotism of those that come to Canada by making them feel like they’re un-Canadian because they’re not wearing little plastic doohickey.”
Negreanu went on to say that looking at both sides is important, but “how many of you have an uncle or like a grandfather who’s just, like, so inappropriate? “Your grandpa, your uncle who says all these outlandishly awful things, there’s this isn’t necessarily an evil man. It’s just one who doesn’t understand the depths of what they’re saying and a lot of cases and how xenophobic or racist it could be.”
As for the firing, Negreanu mentioned that if Cherry had apologized he could have possibly stayed on. However, “he stands for Canada and screw everybody else.”
“So, you must have an opinion when it comes to these impeachment inquiry hearings,” asked Shapiro. Negreanu’s response is “Forget about your politics. Are you okay with the president asking a foreign leader to look into a political opponent? – Like that’s what authoritarians in dangerous countries do. I don’t think Trump knows or even thinks what he was doing was wrong because he doesn’t have a real good depth or understanding of political rules.”
He goes on to say that the Democrats can’t simply do nothing about the many perceived wrongdoings of Trump. He explained that he is unsure if anything will come of it, but that he doesn’t think that Mitch McConnell would even push impeachment through. He finalizes the discussion by asking listeners one question: The president calls [Ukraine call] a perfect phone call. Have you ever described anything in your life as perfect? Wow. That was a perfect thought.”
One of the presidential candidates, Andrew Yang, is one that many professional poker players are supporting ever since he came out recently with a positive position on online poker. Negreanu says he has been a fan of his for quite some time. “One of his slogans is not left, not right, but forward. Trump has been talking about ‘you’re losing your jobs to immigration.’ Well, Yang has actually said that there’s something more important and that’s automation and artificial intelligence,” said Negreanu. “What happened to those 29 million truck drivers who work in the United States as a truck driver? Now that they’re out of a job, there’s a whole bunch of little technological advancements that we can get to that eliminate jobs. Yang sees what’s happening and he has solutions for addressing it for the people.”
On the topic of online poker, Shapiro asks for Negreanu’s perspective on the possible collusion and corruption that seems inherent in an online atmosphere. There could be “a couple players at the same table telling each other what they have. Also, how do you stop a 12-year-old from playing on their fathers or mothers accounts?” asks Shapiro.
“I’m all about liberty and freedom to choose what you want to do with your dollar. If you want to sit on your couch with a laptop and play, I don’t think the government should step in and say, you’re not allowed to do it,” responded Negreanu. “I know internally the security software on these sites is next level. It’s like NASA…Bots do not last because they have next level technology now to spot cheaters and bots. In fact, you are more likely to catch people cheating online than you will in a live casino.”
He goes on to say that online, poker sites have access to every hand that people have played together. Algorithms figure it out and internally can spot cheaters, if not in the first week, in the first month. He noted that age is more difficult to police; however, it’s difficult for a kid to get their parents’ credit cards without their permission. Ultimately, if the parents are OK with it, Negreanu is OK with it too.