ESPN MLB analyst Curt Schilling was suspended last September over explicitly political and otherwise-problematic comments on Twitter and Facebook and in e-mails to this site’s writers. Since that time, ESPN has taken a stronger-still stance against even vaguely political comments, going so far as to hand out political commentary guidelines in January, cut off Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler in February and kill Andy Katz’s SiriusXM politics show last October, which you would think would be enough to discourage Schilling from delving into the political waters again.
You would be wrong.
Schilling resumed posting controversial Facebook memes before his suspension even ended, and he’s now made comments that are not just political, but an apparent wish for jail time or worse for a particular candidate.
Here’s what Schilling said on Kansas City’s 610 KCSP with hosts Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison and guest Rex Hudler (a Royals TV analyst and a former Phillies’ teammate of Schilling’s) Tuesday. The political commentary starts at 28:04:
Here’s a transcription of Schilling’s comments on Hillary Clinton, via The Big Lead:
“If she’s allowed to get to the general election before she’s in prison, I’ll be stunned and upset. Because I think she’s shown her true colors all along the way. I’ll ask you this: do you see her being anything even remotely different than what we’ve had?” Schilling asked the hosts.
“I don’t care what her titles are,” he continued. “She’s done nothing. She’s done absolutely nothing to further the success of the middle class. She jumps on the backs of people who she wants to be dependent on government. She needs these people to be dependent on her.”
The host asked if Schilling thinks Hillary Clinton will go to prison. “I hope she does,” said Schilling. “If I’m gonna believe, and I don’t have any reason not to believe, that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server after what happened to General Petraeus, she should buried under a jail somewhere.”
“Buried under a jail somewhere” certainly doesn’t seem like something that would fit with ESPN’s policies. Here’s what ESPN posted in January as part of their “2016 Presidential Election coverage policy“…
We should refrain from political editorializing, personal attacks or “drive-by” comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns. Approved commentaries on sports-specific issues, or seeking responses from candidates on relevant news issues, are appropriate. However perceived endorsements should be avoided. (In others cases guidelines on social media, acceptable commentary and political advocacy should prevail).
You never know with Schilling, though. After all, he didn’t receive any further punishment after posting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant Facebook memes in late September, something that would also seem to violate ESPN’s policies. However, this is pretty explicitly political and personal.
And in case you think Schilling is just picking on Democratic hopefuls, he also had strong words for Republican candidate Donald Trump:
Schilling criticized Trump for failing to elaborate on his proposals with depth, and that the favorable response to him is people who are “giving a middle finger” to the establishment. He said that he despises both of the parties, and that the media is agenda-driven on both sides of the aisle.
The best part is how Schilling ended this, though at 45:18:
“Yeah, I’m probably going to get fired, but it’s all good.”
ESPN probably won’t fire Schilling just yet, but his continuing political commentary and personal attacks despite warnings to avoid those likely aren’t going over well with management in Bristol. Given that 2016 is an election year that coincides with baseball season, it might be a long campaign in ESPN’s PR offices.
Update: ESPN gave Vocativ’s Robert Silverman a brief comment on the Schilling issue Wednesday:
As to whether ESPN will take action here, when reached for comment an ESPN spokesperson said, “We are addressing it.” A request for further comment that cited ESPN’s own policy on political statements received the following response, “We have nothing further at the moment than that statement.”