Tony Kornheiser isn’t racist, he’s just not as funny as he thinks he is

I don’t know how many people caught this in the age of TiVo, but Tony Kornheiser gave a generic apology for something he said earlier during the Eagles/Cowboys Monday night broadcast.

ESPN was celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and Kornheiser, Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski were listening to a replay of the ESPN Deportes announcer Alvaro Martin’s description of Felix Jones’s 98-yard kickoff return that put the Cowboys ahead, 13-6.

“I took high school Spanish,” Kornheiser said, “and that either means ‘nobody is going to touch him’ or ‘could you pick up my dry cleaning in the morning?’ ”

After Kornheiser conferred with the ESPN production team later in the game, he told viewers in the fourth quarter: “I said something before I shouldn’t have said. I apologize for it. Not my first mistake, undoubtedly won’t be my last, but a 100-percent apology.”

You can hear the original comment and the apology in the following video:

SportsByBrooks is confused.

So, is he saying the Latino announcer is picking up dry cleaning? Or doing the dry cleaning? Or is he just insinuating that the guy has dry cleaning that needs to be picked up by someone? But why would it be weird for a guy who speaks Spanish to be asking for that to be done in Spanish? And isn’t dry cleaning more stereotypically associated with a different ethnicity? Is there something wrong about a Latino guy saying this while watching an African-American guy run?

Whatever it was, Kornheiser felt it was necessary (or was told it was necessary) to apologize for it. Maybe he’s just sorry for his dreadful shtick that’s continually weighing down the broadcast.

I have a theory. Kornheiser was obviously trying to make a joke, and I believe it was supposed to be at his own expense (at his inability to speak Spanish). He was saying that he took high school Spanish and then he offered two translations to the Spanish broadcast. His joke probably wouldn’t have fell flat had he said the following:

“I took high school Spanish and that either meant ‘Nobody is going to catch him’ or ‘The bathroom is in the back of the library.’ “

Anyone who actually took high school Spanish (and there are a lot of us) probably would have found that funny since much of first- and second-year Spanish involves conversation about bathrooms (banos) and/or libraries (bibliotecas).

The fact that he threw ‘dry cleaning’ into his spiel turned it into a possible joke on a stereotype, though no stereotype involving Latinos and dry cleaning exists (to my knowledge).

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