Curt Schilling’s most recent controversy over his repost of a Facebook meme mocking trans people and his added “the men’s room was designed for the penis” commentary has finally led to his termination from ESPN, which the company announced Wednesday night. Here’s the entirety of their two-sentence release:
ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.
While it’s interesting to see Schilling fired over this and not the other controversies he’s caused, such as the 38 Studios saga, his August comparison of Muslims and Nazis, his angry e-mails to writers and his desire to see Hilary Clinton “buried under a jail,” there are a few likely reasons for that. For one, this was probably thanks to the accumulation of all the issues over the years. For another, in contrast to the other cases. Schilling was utterly unapologetic this time, blaming those who were “hunting to be offended” in a blog post and ardently defending his position on WEEI Wednesday. Here’s the link to the post he tweeted Tuesday:
For all of you people dying to be offended by something that never actually happened. https://t.co/6V4Ql8gd0e
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) April 19, 2016
Schilling has shown a willingness to challenge ESPN’s no-politics policies (once he got them out of his spam folder), and he particularly showed that here. The company said after previous controversies that they were “addressing” things with him, but that doesn’t appear to have had any effect. While there may be some blowback for ESPN from this decision, Schilling’s stubbornness probably helped them decide to make that call. As we’ve seen before, ESPN is often more concerned with insubordination than statements.
It’s going to be fascinating to see where things go from here. Does Schilling play the “martyred for my beliefs” card and become a star in the conservative media ranks? Does he go to Fox News, or maybe to hot-take-searching Fox Sports? We’ll have to wait and see. All we know is that somehow, Schilling finally found a way to cross an ESPN line in a significant enough way that they elected to get rid of him.
Update: Here’s how Karl Ravech announced the news during a break in the Tigers-Royals broadcast on ESPN: