ESPN Fires Curt Schilling

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With the way he had been proceeding it was only a matter of time. And now his time is up. Curt Schilling has been fired by ESPN.

The final straw came yesterday when Schilling shared a disgusting anti-transgender meme on Facebook and followed it up with supportive comments which took a distinct, inflammatory side in the ongoing debate about access to public facilities for transgender people. He later doubled down in a combative blog post on the matter. The matter has become highly controversial and Schilling weighing in in the manner he did was both insensitive to transgender persons and flew in the face of ESPN’s mandate to its on-air talent — often broken by Schilling himself — to not wade into highly-charged political topics in an inflammatory manner.

Schilling has constantly defended his behavior in this regard as a matter of his personal beliefs, but when one’s personal beliefs are in direct contradiction of your employer’s values and when you cease to heed your employer’s warnings to cease making controversial public comments, you are eventually going to be fired. And if there is any doubt that Schilling’s beliefs conflicted with his employer’s, ESPN’s statement this evening regarding the firing put that to rest:

“ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

Schilling had already been demoted from his job on Sunday Night Baseball last year for a similar incident involving a social media meme which equated Muslims to Nazis. In the past he had also gotten into controversies regarding the teaching of evolution and, last month, was on a radio show when he said that Hillary Clinton should “be buried under a jail somewhere.” By some counts, Schilling has had no less than seven separate instances in which he came under scrutiny for his social media habits. And a guy with Schilling’s distinguished career on the mound knows that, by the time you get to seven strikes, you’re out.

A person hired to be a sports commentator can, with caution and care, wade into public matters. Many do. But the reckless and offensive way Schilling did and his repeated violation of his employer’s orders in this regard made his position untenable. And now one of the best pitchers of his generation is out of a job.

Curt Schilling writes blog post doubling down on anti-transgender post

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 03: Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling #38 throws out the first pitch after being inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins during the game on August 3, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
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On Tuesday afternoon, Craig wrote about a disgusting anti-transgender post former major leaguer Curt Schilling made on Facebook. Craig, as usual, correctly pointed out the many ways in which Schilling’s comment was wrong.

Schilling then wrote a blog post in which he doubled down on his Facebook post. He called it, “The hunt to be offended…” He said, “If you get offended by ANYTHING in this post, that’s your fault, all yours.” Schilling then adds, “I don’t represent anyone but myself here, on facebook, on twitter, anywhere,” which is just not correct, especially given how ESPN has reacted to his myriad faux pas.

Schilling addressed the controversy from last August in which he compared Muslims to Nazis. He tried to justify it by saying he used the term “Muslim extremist” as opposed to just Muslim. Then, about today’s furor over his latest Facebook post, he wrote, “This latest brew ha ha is beyond hilarious. I didn’t post that ugly looking picture. I made a comment about the basic functionality of mens and womens restrooms, period.”

He goes on, “YOU’RE the ones making it the issue. I don’t care, if you ask me about any of the topics it’s likely (much to the chagrin of many) I’ll answer with my opinion.”

It reads like a teenager trying to argue his way out of getting grounded by his or her parents. Guess we’ll have to wait and see how ESPN responds to this.

Curt Schilling makes a disgusting anti-transgender post on Facebook

Former MLB player Curt Schilling talks with a reporter at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, California June 9, 2011. REUTERS/David McNew
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This has got to be the final straw, right? Curt Schilling, ESPN’s baseball analyst who has been in trouble multiple times for his social media posts and comments, has once again stepped in it. Indeed, this may be his worst one yet.

It was a meme he shared on Facebook and under which he commented dealing with the issue of access to public facilities for transgender people and it contains a disgusting caricature of what, apparently, Schilling believes to be a transgender person. I won’t reproduce the meme he shared here, but you can see it if you’d like at OutSports, which brought this to the public’s attention. They also pass along his comments, which I presume he’ll soon delete. Schilling:

“A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis , women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic”

While many may feel that way, such sentiments are wholly ignorant of transgender people and their nature (note: they are people who just have to go to the bathroom sometimes like everyone else) and perpetuates stereotypes of a much-maligned class of people. There is an entire b.s. perpetuation machine backing these sorts of sentiments, by the way, smearing transgender people as deviants or threats when, in fact, there are no documented cases of people exploiting transgender non-discrimination laws to commit crimes. Of course, given Schilling’s track record, it is not necessarily surprising that he’s willing to buy into false claims and hyperbole which support his general disposition.

But even if you step away from the substance, it’s undeniable that public access for transgender people is a highly controversial issue at the moment, with North Carolina passing a restrictive law in this regard which has led to boycotts of the state by performing artists and travel restrictions for public officials who would visit North Carolina in their official capacity. Likewise, the NBA is currently considering taking next year’s All-Star Game out of Charlotte. No matter which side of this matter a person may fall, it’s highly doubtful that ESPN wants one of its top commenters wading into it at the moment, at least in as crass a manner as Schilling did.

Of course, Schilling has skated in the past and still makes seven figures talking about baseball for ESPN. One wonders if this will finally cause them to fire him or if he’ll continue to be teflon.