ESPN has fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling for posting a political meme critical of pro-transgender bathroom policy on his Facebook page.
The sports network owned by Disney issued a statement claiming Schilling’s “unacceptable conduct” violated their policy of inclusiveness:
“ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”
The former Red Sox pitcher deleted the offending meme when the controversy first erupted several days ago but we’ll post it here for you so you can make your own judgement:
As Internet memes go, it’s certainly a little more “in-your-face” than most. But, it does illustrate the concern many Americans have over the push to allow “gender identification” as the determinate criteria for gender-specific restroom access. Sure, the ascetic here is hardly a think-piece at Human Events, but for crying out loud, it’s a Facebook post.
The Huffington Post reports that Schilling added his own commentary to the meme before he deleted it:
“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.”
David Hookstead at The Daily Caller is pretty sure Schilling was fired for being a conservative:
The former Red Sox pitcher has been very open about his conservative views in the past. He was previously suspended by ESPN for comparing ISIS to the Nazis.
ESPN might have no problem getting rid of conservative pundits, but the network has tolerated extreme liberal positions in the past without firing anybody. ESPN employee Tony Kornheiser compared the Tea Party to ISIS and insinuated the Tea Party was attempting to “establish a caliphate.”
Kornheiser is still cashing pay checks from ESPN.
So has Schilling been fired for being conservative and espousing conservative ideas, or was he fired because of the method of delivery of those messages? In other words, both Ed Morrissey and Ted Nugent are conservative, but their delivery and style couldn’t be more different. One can be conservative yet still communicate those ideas in a way that does not offend. This is not a knock on Nugent, I love him because he doesn’t care if he offends anyone, but he isn’t working for Disney.
Christine Brennan at USA Today takes up that argument and ultimately determines that Schilling was fired less for his political views than for his lack of professionalism:
Schilling didn’t know when to be quiet. He didn’t know when to stop. When you’re a member of the news media, as I have been for years, you censor yourself dozens of times a day. You keep off-the-record conversations private. You keep a scoop to yourself until you can responsibly report it. You listen to others give an opinion rather than always give yours. And you actually control yourself when you get over your keyboard.
This behavior has a name that Schilling probably wouldn’t recognize.
It’s called professionalism.
Frankly, when I turn on ESPN, I want to hear about sports, not politics. I see politics everywhere I go in my life. Baseball, football and hockey are supposed to be entertaining distractions from my everyday life. I don’t like it when liberal commentators (like Kornheiser or Michael Wilbon) are lecturing me about racial issues or the name of the Washington Redskins. I want to hear about sports.
And that’s what makes the firing of Schilling all the more outrageous. You see, his comments were made on his Facebook page, not over the air on ESPN. Is Schilling not allowed to express his own personal feelings in whatever way he chooses in his private time? And, if so, why are Kornheiser, Smith, Wilbon and others allowed to be just as political while on the air?