Curt Schilling was a very successful, gritty major league baseball pitcher, who now is a popular commentator for ESPN.
I always knew that he was right-wing conservative. So be it, to each their own politics. And further, I was always impressed that when his software company went belly-up a few years ago, he went out of his way to make good on all his financial commitments, which were extensive. And I thought he’s handled his cancer admirably, which seems to be in remission.
Now though, thanks to a recent Tweet that has surfaced, it turns out he’s much more than right-wing conservative, but a far right wingnut. The Tweet in question, which has since been deleted, compared Muslims to Nazis but, far worse, Media Matters just did a story about a whole slew of his egregious Facebook postings that have gone so far over the line that ESPN has removed him from its current Little League coverage. As Media Matters notes -- and embeds his Facebook posts -- “Schilling has repeatedly demonized Muslims as killers, shared a picture calling Hillary Clinton a drunk murderer, and suggested civil rights leaders like Rep. John Lewis aren't patriotic.” He's also made posts in support of the Confederate flag as honoring God in a Christian fight for liberty, had posts demeaning of women, and made comparisons of gun control to 9/11. There’s a lot more. You can read the piece and see many of the posts here.
But just for starters, here are three.
By the way, putting aside for the moment, the hate-filled, misogenystic, nasty sensibility of it all -- and yes, I know that that's a LOT to put aside, even for just the briefest moment, it's impossible to read all that and see (not surprisingly) how ignorantly inaccurate it.
To begin with, that isn't even, as described, the Confederate Battle Flag -- it was the Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. And as for all the faux-religious interpretation of the flag, consider what the chairman of the "Committee on the Flag and Seal" that actually designed it, William Porcher Miles (aide to General Beauregard) wrote specifically about how they went out of their way to not make the flag religious, including "'it avoided the religious objection about the cross (from the Jews and many Protestant sects), because it did not stand out so conspicuously as if the cross had been placed upright thus.' He also argued that the diagonal cross was 'more Heraldric [sic] than Ecclesiastical, it being the 'saltire' of Heraldry, and significant of strength and progress.'”
And not only, of course, did Hillary Clinton not murder anyone, but she wasn't even fired for any reasons, let alone for ethics violations. The charge comes from a superior on the Watergate Investigation Committee for which she served, but as has been repeatedly debunked, he was on a completely different committee and wouldn't even have had authority to fire her -- which he didn't, and which she wasn't.
And of course it's sort of pathetic to have to explain that the Nazi Party was not a band of outside extremists and did not merely inflict the 6 million deaths of the Holocaust and cause all the worldwide devastation of WWII, including 24 million Russian deaths simply because it was just 7-10% of Germans, but it was the actual ruling party of the nation.
And of course, too, there's really no need to explain any details why each of these fevered rants is factually wrong. Facts have little to do with the rants. Anger, hatred, mean-spiritedness and ignorance are what they are about.
But pointing them out at least make me feel better. Because sometimes there are people reading them who aren't lost and crazed and falling off the deep end, but just don't know and think, "Well, that's sort of an interesting point." No, it's not. It's hate-filled, racist, misogynistic and sad. And so, you explain reality.
ESPN has a problem. It's one thing for a person to have their right of free speech. And Curt Schilling does, the government is not about to arrest him for anything he's said -- and that's the point of the First Amendment, the government. It's another thing, though, for a business to have someone as its face and one of the representative voices of the organization whose own words are so grossly anathema to it. At the moment, ESPN's public comment is -- "Curt's tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective. We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration."
Curt Schilling has every right to believe and say whatever he wants, no matter how pathetic. And ESPN, like any business, has every right to say that they don't want small-minded spitefulness representing them as part of their brand.
We'll see what that further consideration leads to.
But one possibility is what my friend, journalist Patrick Goldstein wrote to me: "Somehow I don't think ESPN taking him off their Little League coverage is enough punishment. I would prefer to see him sentenced to working 50 broadcasts with Chris Berman and Tony Kornheiser."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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