Curt Schilling’s suspension from ESPN has been big news in the world of sports this week, and given the anti-Muslim nature of the since-deleted Tweet that led to the suspension that invoked an image of Adolf Hitler in full salute, it’s understandable how socially and politically charged the fallout has become.

Sarah Palin is never one to not share her opinion on matters that involve the tug-of-war between conservatism and liberalism, and she took to Facebook in one helluva rant to defend Mr. Schilling’s beliefs. Thanks to the Washington Post for the tip (Palin and I aren’t exactly Facebook friends) here is the full rant without my commentary if you are so inclined.


ESPN – what happened to you? Your intolerant PC police are running amok and making a joke out of you!

By picking and choosing who they’ll tolerate and who they’ll try to destroy, ESPN has zero credibility as a sound and reasonable media outlet.

Okay, let’s pause here. Palin’s first line could be about First Take. Are we sure it’s not about First Take?

We can debate the level of ESPN’s credibility if we’d like, as some might suggest employing someone with consistently racist Facebook posts and a very extensive collection of Nazi war attire strains that line in a different direction, but ESPN did not destroy Schilling. He did that all by himself, and has admitted such.

They suspended former major league great Curt Schilling because of his tweet:

“Only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?”

ESPN reacted about as fast as a Schilling pitch, wimpering, “Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective. We have removed him from his current assignment… pending further consideration.”

Why does it matter if Schilling was a “major league great” or the former governor of Alaska. ESPN has a policy. And yes, they’ve been lax in enforcing it time and time again, but it’s there, for this exact reason. (Side note: Was Schilling great? He’s probably in that “very good” category, and this comes from someone whose greatest sports memory was sitting on the first base line of his 1993 2-0 World Series gem. But I digress.)

Palin re-posted the verbiage in the tweet—a tweet, again, that had a huge image of Hitler—then called ESPN’s statement ‘wimpering,’ when suspending a guy, as she calls it, “about as fast as a Schilling pitch” seems rather firm.

Two points – well, three, because Curt’s a pretty conservative/independent guy.

One – there’s been crude, rude bile spewing from the once-great sports network for years now. Trust me. I know. My name and reputation’s been in it. One ESPN affiliate’s on-air rant featuring their misogynist, animalistic “analysts” grunting and giggling through an entire x-rated celebration of violence against women didn’t even draw a chirp from ESPN’s wussified leaders. Look it up; I don’t want to have to recount it. ESPN radio affiliate in Las Vegas got its kicks out of convicted rapist Mike Tyson describing the next rape he’d want to see. (Warning, graphic language throughout that Sept. 20, 2011 broadcast.)

As the Washington Post article pointed out, Palin was referencing Tyson’s interview with an ESPN affiliate in Las Vegas that graphically referenced her reported relationship with NBA player Glen Rice.

The fact that Palin doesn’t want to recount a story but brought it up notwithstanding, wouldn’t that experience make her want ESPN to be stronger in situations like that in the future? Calling ESPN’s brass “wussified” suggests she was upset they didn’t do anything in 2011, yet now she’s upset they did! Do two wrongs make a right or do they not?

In an effort to ‘stick to sports,’ I’ve decided to omit the next graph of Palin’s rant suggesting that “the majority” of Muslims are extreme jihadists. It’s terribly upsetting, and I hope that Schilling reads that and realizes the type of person defending him.

Back to sports!

By denying the accuracy of Schilling’s tweet, ESPN shows its weakness as it buys into the propaganda of ISIS and other terror organizations, helping mislead the public about the very real threat of terrorism.

The information in the tweet was not accurate. Hitler was elected. There were more than seven percent of Ger—nope. I’m not doing that.

See, what Schilling thinks about ISIS isn’t ESPN’s concern. What is ESPN’s concern is that they have a very clear policy about these types of comments — on either side of the aisle — bleeding into their sports content. Schilling is a prominent figure on ESPN’s baseball coverage, and word is ESPN has been trying for some time to have him curtail the incendiary political comments on social media without suspending him. After this, he left them no choice, and he’s admitted that.

ESPN responded quickly because they WANT to stick to sports. Why Palin doesn’t get that… well, is totally understandable given everything she’s ever said or written or done.

It shows once again that ESPN would rather concentrate on liberal global politics instead of report well on our beloved sports.

From those of us who used to LOVE the network (to the point of addiction, some would confess!), I say to ESPN – you are awful in this. Stick to sports.

– Sarah Palin

If anything, this suspension shows why ESPN would rather concentrate on baseball—sports!—than global politics at all. It shows why ESPN would rather concentrate on not offending millions of Muslims in America who might enjoy baseball. Because they are dedicated to sticking to sports.

Truth be told, and this is scary to think about, there are more people in America who agree with Palin than there are Muslim-Americans, so if ESPN was strictly worried about ratings, letting Schilling go off on his anti-Muslim rants could potentially be good for business, not bad.

It’s just that ESPN and Disney have the common sense to understand that millions upon millions of American sports fans don’t agree with hate speech and fear mongering bleeding into our sports coverage, preferring not need to hear that from a guy who covers baseball for them.

Is Schilling entitled to his opinion? Of course. But for all the Constitution thumpers out there who think ESPN violated his First Amendment rights — thankfully Palin didn’t go there, as I’d like to think a woman who once ran an entire state and was a Vice Presidential candidate has a grasp of the Bill of Rights — remember that freedom of speech just means Schilling can be a racist hate-monger without fear of imprisonment. The first amendment protects all citizens’ right to free speech, but it does not mean ESPN has to continue to put a guy on TV, or even pay him, for violating their policies in such a heinous way.

That’s not what free speech is, and Schilling should have known that when he posted those messages on social media while employed by ESPN.

My suggestion to Governor Palin after her Facebook rant would be this: stick to whatever you normally do. Clearly, that’s not watching ESPN anymore.

About Dan Levy

Dan Levy has written a lot of words in a lot of places, most recently as the National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. He was host of The Morning B/Reakaway on Sirius XM's Bleacher Report Radio for the past year, and previously worked at Sporting News and Rutgers University, with a concentration on sports, media and public relations.

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