An interesting dimension of the bankruptcy of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios video game company, and the questions it raises about his management and involvement, is the effect it has on his credibility as an ESPN analyst. It’s an awkward situation, and it appears Bristol has finally realized that. Sure, business isn’t baseball, but it’s a little weird to see a man involved in a nasty ongoing fight with the Rhode Island government over millions of dollars in unpaid loans frequently popping up on the Worldwide Leader to discuss the Red Sox. Although ESPN.com only billed him as “former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling” rather than “ESPN MLB analyst Curt Schilling” in stories about 38 Studios’ troubles, they told Matt in early June that there had been “no change in his status.” Well, now that status has changed, as ESPN’s Mike Soltys announced on Twitter Saturday that Bristol and Schilling had mutally agreed on him taking a leave of absence:
We mutually agreed w/CurtSchilling to take a leave as he works thru his business issues. We expect he will return on air later this season.
— Mike Soltys (@espnmikes) June 16, 2012
This seems like a smart move for both sides. ESPN no longer has to deal with questions about running Schilling out there to talk about baseball while he’s under fire from so many on the business front, and Schilling can focus on sorting out the wreckage of 38 Studios. It also looks better to the public for him to be working on dealing with his business issues than talking about baseball, and ESPN doesn’t have to worry about the baggage he brings for a while. They have plenty of talented MLB analysts, so Schilling may not even be all that missed. Still, that statement does suggest he’s coming back before too long, so this may be a way to just postpone the issue for a while. Even if that’s all it is, though, that works for both ESPN and Schilling, and viewers won’t have to watch a guy who apparently owes the Rhode Island government millions complain about the Red Sox being last in the AL East.