Last week, I wrote here about former major league pitcher Curt Schilling's latest spate of egregiously nasty Tweets, which prompted his employer ESPN to say it took the issue seriously and was looking into the matter. The network had previously suspended Schilling for other equally mean-spirited posts on social media.
I wrote that my personal dilemma was that Schilling is such a wonderful baseball analyst, one of the very best, and from other things I know of him, has some very good sides to him. As well as, alas, this very dark and cruel one.
Well, just to update you, my dilemma is over. The network released a statement last week which said, in part, "ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated."
Well, okay, that's that then.
Schilling has subsequently gone on social media to whine and blame others, as has his supportive wife, explaining what a wonderful heart Curt has and people don't really know him or know how inclusive he is.
As I said, I am sure that Schilling has many sides. And I know enough about him that some of those sides are really terrific. Unfortunately, I also know this other side. And it's cold, spiteful and ugly. And really stupid -- because he was suspended for this already and even released a statement at the time taking responsibility, so he had to know what the risks and consequences were of continuing to do this.
And to be very clear, this isn't a First Amendment "free speech" issue which some conservatives are trying to wrongly claim. The First Amendment is solely about the government not being allowed to make laws abridging speech. It says nothing -- zero -- about a company not being allowed to protect its self-interest as a business.
Curt Schilling was a very public face and voice of ESPN, representing them. So, when he posts such cruel things under his name, it reflects on his employer as their public face.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Schilling is trying to blame this on others and their reactions and misunderstandings. He also is trying to weasel his way out of it by saying that the worst of the words were not his at all, but he was rather just re-posting things that others have written. But, of course, it's his choice to post them. And his choice not to refute them. And his choice not to post what others have said on the opposite side of all these issues. So, his point of view comes through very loudly.
And after his firing, he went back on Facebook, and his latest is posting memes by "others" that use the image of the late Prince with fake words seemingly attributed to him that slam Democrats and liberals.
Way to go, guy. At least it's not "your" words, just someone else's. Blame them. And while you're at it, maybe you'll explain that it was the devil that made you do it...
And who knows, maybe Fox Sports will find a place for him. After all, they hired Pete Rose and his lifetime ban from baseball. It would be a lovely fit.
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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