It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from former ESPN commentator Curt Schilling, who went on a full media tour following his April firing after he posted an anti-trans meme on Facebook. Schilling was seemingly one of the few right-wing sports figures not mentioned in connection with this week’s Republican National Convention, whether speaking on the main stage, headlining other events, just showing up, or turning down invitations to speak. On Wednesday, we found out why: Schilling went on The Dan Patrick Show for a larger conversation about baseball, but when the discussion turned to politics, he said he would have loved to speak in support of Donald Trump at the RNC, but wasn’t given an invitation.
There are several good tidbits in there, including that Schilling is a fan of actor and RNC speaker Scott Baio (“I feel like I know what I’m talking about, I’m well-read, I try to understand, he’s very much the same way, he’s not some actor just riffing like Susan Sarandon or some other dunce who’s saying ‘Save the whales,’ he actually is well informed.”), but the stuff about the convention in particular is the most notable.
“I so badly wanted to be out there, I wanted to speak–well, I always want to speak, but I’m getting ready to roll into my next career and I thought this would be a lot of fun,” Schilling said. After a digression about Baio, he goes “I was a little bit bummed. I heard Tim Tebow at first and thought, ‘Man, that sucks. Tim Tebow’s getting a snap and I’m going to sit here?'”
Of course, although Tebow was on the list of speakers The New York Times obtained a week ahead of the convention, he didn’t actually speak. He denied the report later that day in an Instagram post, and didn’t attend the convention. That may have been thanks to his employer: Tebow is an analyst for the SEC Network, which is run by ESPN, and ESPN has been very against advocacy for candidates (although that rule is selectively enforced). Here’s the key part of what Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch wrote on this
I asked ESPN on Sunday whether Tebow would have been granted permission under the existing policy.
Said an ESPN spokesperson: “We would expect them to ask and while your question is hypothetical, the answer for either convention would be no.”
So, even if Tebow did want to speak, he may have known he wouldn’t get clearance from his employer. Schilling doesn’t have to worry about that any more, as he isn’t currently employed; Sirius XM denied a report from an AA source earlier this month that Schilling would be joining their conservative Patriot Channel. The “getting ready to roll into his next career” suggests he does have something in the works, though. We’ll see where he winds up and if he has more involvement with this presidential election as it goes on.
The Dan Patrick Show airs Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern on AT&T and DirecTV’s Audience Sports, as well as on NBCSN and radio affiliates.