ESPN has announced that baseball analyst Curt Schilling is done for the rest of the season.
The former MLB ace originally got into trouble for a retweet (since deleted) comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis. Following a social media backlash, he was pulled from the Little League World Series, and now he no longer will appear on the sports network’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast for the duration.
In an August 25 follow-up tweet, Schilling accepted the initial ESPN suspension: “100% my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part.”
In a statement today, ESPN had this to say about the Schilling benching.
“At all times during the course of their engagement with us, our commentators are directly linked to ESPN and are the face of our brand. We are a sports media company. Curt’s actions have not been consistent with his contractual obligations, nor have they been professionally handled; they have obviously not reflected well on the company. As a result, he will not appear on ESPN through the remainder of the regular season and our Wild Card playoff game.”
Last Sunday night, Curt Schilling was replaced in the ESPN booth by ex-U.S. softball star Jessica Mendoza, who will likely continue in that role.
Schilling, 48, probably didn’t help himself by sending a long email to a sports website about the controversy, which that website subsequently published without the ex-pitcher’s consent. Schilling’s main beef seemed to be that many media outlets failed to report that the tweet in question referred to extremist Muslims, not Muslims generally. “Schilling also recently exchanged emails with Dan Levy of Awful Announcing. In the emails, Schilling was critical of the way his suspension was covered and questioned the integrity of the media when it discusses him,” the Bleacher Report summarized.
ESPN suits were probably less than pleased that Schilling’s email exchange also included throwing some shade on the network’s NFL correspondent Chris Mortensen for his problematic reportage on Deflategate.
Schilling has an MLB win-loss record of 216-146 with more than 3,000 strikeouts and a career 3.46 ERA. He is a three-time World Series champion (2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox), joining ESPN as a baseball commentator in 2010. He is also a recent throat cancer survivor.
Curt Schilling’s newly announced suspension has prompted a vigorous pro and con on Twitter.
Freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment does not apply to a private corporation like ESPN. That being said, do you think that the Curt Schilling suspension by ESPN was justified?
[Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images Sport]