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Kornheiser Takes The High Road Regarding Aaron Rodgers’ Vitriolic Criticism

By now, you have undoubtedly heard about the ESPN analyst flame war Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers ignited during an interview with ESPN Milwaukee the other day when he egregiously hammered on the sub-par quality of the football analysis emanating out of Bristol. Rodgers saved his most spiteful comments for Pardon the Interruption co-host and former Monday Night Football color guy Tony Kornheiser, who Rodgers referred to as “terrible” and inferred that the longtime columnist for The Washington Post doesn’t know “anything about sports” (more here).

Not surprisingly, Kornheiser took the mean-spirited shots with his usual class and self-deprecating sense of humor. Commenting to an inquiry by The Big Lead, Kornheiser addressed Rodgers’ comments thusly:

“My guess is that his comments had to do with the fact that during his first season, I was publicly critical of the Packers, which had a 13-3 team, and got rid of [Brett] Favre for an untested player,” Kornheiser said. “Jaws and I went back and forth on this 1,000 times on TV and with Wilbon 1,000 times on TV. But if he thinks I’m no good, he wouldn’t be the first. Or the last.”

“I don’t remember anything particular from the meetings, but I do remember that Jaws went in purely looking for football stuff, Mike [Tirico] was looking for stuff from the announcing angle, and I went looking more for feature-y things or stories,” he said. “In that case, the theme was taking over for Brett Favre, which was the toughest thing to do in Green Bay. My guess is that I asked a lot of questions relative to that, and tried to establish some rapport with that. I guess that rapport didn’t exist.”

Now, in the interest of total disclosure, I have on numerous occasions been among those who were hypercritical of Kornheiser’s performance on Monday Night Football. He was ill-suited for the role and ESPN made a tremendous miscalculation in placing him in the MNF booth. And for that, Kornheiser should be held at least somewhat accountable, but not completely. I have also taking liberties at making fun of his pop culture leanings, not the least of which is his fanatical love for the show American Idol.

With that, it should be pointed out that Kornheiser has been in the sportswriting business for 40 years and a person doesn’t t last that long without some profound talent and the ability to take some shots when someone disagrees with you, and that has been adequately proven once again with the tact displayed in addressing Rodgers’ comments.

I mentioned previously that Kornheiser is positively brilliant on Pardon the Interruption and he should be given due credit for his great work on the show. Further, given the classy manner in which Kornheiser handled this situation, whatever personal score Rodgers was trying to settle with the journalist fell way short of the mark and in the end, made the quarterback come off as a smart-ass malcontent doling out potshots at people simply for the sake of taking them.

And I do recognize I am somewhat playing both sides against the middle on this one as I have taken shots at Kornheiser myself, but after taking a little time to consider it, I wanted to make my thoughts clear on the subject. Maybe that’s hypocritical, but it is what it is.

Good on you, Tony Kornheiser. Keep on keepin’ on.

Tony Kornheiser on Being Ripped by Aaron Rodgers: “I tried to establish a rapport; I guess that didn’t exist” [The Big Lead]
(previously at the Sportress: Aaron Rodgers Has Got No Love For Tony Kornheiser, Other ESPN Analysts)