kornheiser

Is Tony Kornheiser Going Off His Rocker?

None of these individual stories may have caught your eye, but over the past week, Tony Kornheiser has been in the news for a few stories that make you scratch your head.  The PTI co-host has made news for some outlandish statements, criticism of blogs & tweeting, and his protection of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.  Is this a trend with TK losing touch with reality, or was it just a bad week?

*First, Packey wrote this about TK’s comments on PTI regarding NASCAR being a fixed sport, I thought only pro wrestling and the NBA were fixed:

Tony Kornheiser admitted he doesn’t know much about NASCAR. That didn’t stop him from making some pretty controversial comments about NASCAR on last Tuesday’s PTI:

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“Someone I talked to who covered auto racing for a lot of years, said she believed there was a 60 percent chance that [Dale] Junior qualified with a car not quite up to code, and people looked the other way,” Kornheiser said.

Yahoo! transcribed the entire conversation between Kornheiser and guest host LeBatard, but the crux of it is that TK and LeBatard are debating whether or not NASCAR is fixed, all based on Dale Jr. having pole position for the race which just so happens to be the 10th anniversary of his dad’s death and a 60 percent belief from someone TK.  

Although conspiracy theories and sports are nothing new… cough, right David Stern, cough… my guess is that Tony feels rather foolish about this claim now that a 20 year old kid that nobody outside of his immediate family had heard of won NASCAR’s biggest race on Sunday.

*Then, there is the ongoing controversy in DC regarding Redskins owner Dan Snyder and his lawsuit against Washington City Paper sportswriter Dave McKenna.  To get you caught up to date, McKenna penned a story that demolished Snyder on numerous fronts.  Snyder then took the step of suing the paper earlier this month for McKenna’s piece.  That action set off many fans, writers, and bloggers alike.  Deadspin has linked to the article in question every day since the lawsuit was filed, ripping Snyder and supporting McKenna.  It’s one of the biggest stories in Washington sports, and yet Kornheiser has been suspiciously silent regarding the matter.  For a man who hosts a daily radio show in Washington, it should be something that lights up the airwaves.  Only problem is that Snyder owns the station and Kornheiser is a known Snyder supporter.  That creates a huge credibility gap for TK as Pro Football Talk pointed out, both on his radio show and PTI.  

TK was further thrown under the journalistic credibility bus by author John Feinstein.  Feinstein wrote on his blog last week that Kornheiser specifically told him that the Redskins owner was off limits on Tony’s radio show.  Here’s what Feinstein wrote on his blog

The other exception goes in the other direction: Tony Kornheiser has specifically asked me not to bring up Dan Snyder on his show. I feel queasy about this but Tony’s my friend and it is his show. It isn’t as if there aren’t plenty of other forums for me to talk about Snyder and Snyder is one of those guys Tony simply isn’t going to go after—not because he’s paid by him but because he likes him.

It may be an awkward story for Kornheiser, but this kind of favoritism for one of the most nationally known sports media personalities is embarrassing.  I’m probably one of the biggest PTI fans in the world and think he’s great at what he does, but sometimes actions need to be called out regardless of whether you like a guy or not.  At the very least, he should have come out at the beginning of the story and explained himself and his lack of analysis on one of the biggest sports stories in DC.  It’s part of the business to be favorable to certain people, but it’s a discredit to the public to close your eyes and ears and pretend that nothing is happening.  Kornheiser created a sticky wicket for himself with his refusal to address the controversy at all.  

*But, wait, that’s not all!  As if TK doesn’t have enough questions and problems, he decided to attack the 21st century on his Friday radio show.  From Deadspin is Kornheiser’s thoughts on Tweeting, blogging, and all of that stuff that he’s apparently too refined to lower himself to take part in…

Look, of all the things that I have done in a career of being a sportswriter for a long period of time — I know I yodel now, but I used to be a legitimate person who went out and wrote, didn’t blog, didn’t just sit there and give my own opinions on what I was going to eat for breakfast, didn’t tweet, didn’t do any of these things that so, so diminish the craft and nuance of writing…

 Craft and nuance?  Is that what accusing a sport of being fixed based on a 60% hunch or deafening silence regarding his BFF’s issues are?  I’m sorry, I must have missed Craft And Nuance 101 to learn those skills before I got my sports blogging license.  Unsurprisingly, critics were quick to pounce.  In spite of his hit television show and his short career as a Monday Night Football analyst, Kornheiser is stuck in a different time with his thoughts on sportswriting and sports media.  For someone who has taken advantage of the new sports media age like perhaps no other, it’s amazing how TK could be so far behind on Twitter and blogging.  Of course, there’s things like Bleacher Report that give sports blogs a black eye, but the truth is that there is amazing writing all around the country in the world on sports blogs.  Besides, when the old guard is represented by guys like this, it doesn’t speak well of the way things used to be.  Also, Twitter has changed the way stories are reported and consumed by sports fans and made access and information more available than ever before.  When these stories are combined together, it makes Kornheiser look out of touch with a growing and changing sports landscape.  Leave us a comment below or vote in the poll on the main page to share your thoughts.

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Managing Editor of Awful Announcing and award winning sportswriter. Bloguin consigliere. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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