MacLean made his comments Saturday night during the first intermission of "Hockey Night in Canada" as the Toronto Maple Leafs took on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Cherry was sacked Monday and Sportsnet had the entire week to plan for Saturday's first intermission without him.
"We are all hurting". "I know Grapes and I don't think it came across like everyone is making it sound".
"We're all disappointed", MacLean began.
"I was kind of processing what he was saying and thinking I wasn't in an ideological bubble at all, I might have been in a friendship bubble because I was kind of praying that I don't think I'm hearing trouble but I might be hearing trouble, anyway, it was done, and then you called us on it and I thank you for that".
Said Orr: "It's a new world, I guess".
"You people", as I understood it, was referring to those who don't wear poppies.
Amid the fallout, MacLean apologized for not reacting to Cherry's remarks live on the air, but Cherry, who has always been known for controversial comments, did not show contrition before his dismissal.
Cherry has denied he was singling out visible minorities.
However, he was never given the chance as Sportsnet allegedly told him he could not put out a tweet or say anything for a few days, only to turn on the TV Sunday and see Ron MacLean apologizing.
The agreement included a sub-licensing deal to allow the CBC to air Hockey Night in Canada.
"Knowing what to overlook is wisdom, and I felt so bad, and I apologized immediately", MacLean said.
"Not a word was said about that, but you used two words and that's where it goes", said Cherry. "There were steps that needed to be taken because of what had been said by Don". And he didn't want to do those steps. "After 38 years on television, if you haven't figured out Don Cherry, there's nothing I can do".
MacLean revealed that he thought of "falling on my sword, too", but chose to stay on at HNIC and with broadcast network Sportsnet because quitting would infer that he agreed with Cherry's comments. "That is just wrong", said Orr of Cherry's dismissal from Hockey Night in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet. The induction ceremony is Monday.
"There is all of this talk about who is going to replace Don Cherry?" said Orr.
HNIC was a longtime CBC Saturday night staple, but the show and its games moved to Sportsnet when Rogers landed a lucrative long-term broadcast rights deal with the National Hockey League that began in 2014.
Rogers Media, a subsidiary of Rogers Communications, is the parent company of Sportsnet which also owns this website.
The 85-year-old native of Kingston, Ont., joined HNIC in 1980 as a playoff analyst and was so popular that he was kept on as a colour commentator.
CBC's "The National" touches on the reactions of many Canadians following Don Cherry's remarks on "Coach's Corner".