Don Cherry slammed 'left-wing pinkos' in a speech introducing Rob Ford as the new mayor of Toronto. ((CBC) )

Comments made by sports celebrity Don Cherry against "pinkos" during the swearing-in of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have caused a stir.

Cherry, invited by Ford to the ceremony, said he specifically chose to wear a flamboyant pink jacket.

"Well, actually I'm wearing pinko for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything," he said.

It wasn't clear whether Cherry was targeting any specific group or a particular political issue. 

In a rambling speech meant to introduce the new mayor, Cherry touched on media articles that have criticized him in the past "because I go to church" and "because I honour the troops." 

The former NHL coach, now a commentator, told Ford that was the type of criticism he will face as mayor.

"This is what you'll be facing, Rob, with these left-wing pinkos. They scrape the bottom of the barrel."

'Left-wing kooks'

In closing, Cherry said Ford would be "the greatest mayor that this city has seen — and put that in your pipes, you left-wing kooks."

It seemed at least some of Cherry's remarks were directed at members of council — those who have been critical of the new mayor.

Coun. Adam Vaughan turned his back to Cherry as he spoke. Another councillor, Joe Mihevc, said Cherry's remarks set "a tone of divisiveness." 

"This," said Mihevc, "is frankly, a sad way to start a four-year term." 

Cherry was unapologetic when asked afterward about his comments.

"You don't invite a pit bull. If you want a pit bull, you get a pit bull," he said.

And the new mayor apparently didn't see any harm in the remarks.

"To each his own, right? Don's well-known, he's well-respected throughout Canada and what you see is what you get," Ford said.