ESPN Fires Curt Schilling Over Anti-Transgender Post

Curt Schilling Fired ESPN

Twitter, Facebook — in Curt Schilling’s case, it’s more like anti-social media. ESPN has fired its baseball analyst after he posted, and later defended, an anti-transgender meme and opined about laws covering gender-specific restrooms.

“ESPN is an inclusive company,” the Disney-owned sports giant said in a statement today. “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

espn_logo__130813225927-275x206__140509150446ESPN had suspended Schilling in September over a tweet comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis.

Schilling deleted Monday’s offending Facebook post but not, of course, before it was screen-grabbed for posterity. But rather than back down, he posted a ranting, 840-word response headlined “The Hunt to Be Offended…” on his blog. In it, the three-time World Series champion defended his right to an opinion: “My opinion, 100% mine, and only mine. I don’t represent anyone but myself here, on facebook, on twitter, anywhere.”

ESPN disagreed.

The firing comes as media companies have led calls to block or rescind state laws in Georgia and in North Carolina that discriminate against the LGBT community. Those companies include Disney, one of the first to come out publicly against Georgia’s “religious freedom” legislation last month. That proposed law was later vetoed by the governor.

Schilling joins a growing list of ESPN commentators who have been shown the door in the past couple of years for making controversial remarks on air or social media. Colin Cowherd was told in July that his contract would not be renewed, that in the wake being suspended for remarks about the mental capacities of Dominicans and then trying to explain himself on air afterward. Once-Golden Boy Bill Simmons’ comments about the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell in 2014 paved the way for his departure from the Bristol campus in May.

Other ESPN folks have been suspended for their comments or actions. Britt McHenry was sat down in April 2015 after her mean-girl tirade against a towing company employee went viral. Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman found themselves on the wrong side of the Ray Rice abuse scandal in 2014, and Keith Olbermann — who since has parted ways with ESPN — got a week in the penalty box for waging a Twitter war with Penn State students.

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88 Comments

  1. IndustryMexicanon Apr 20, 2016 5:17 pm

    Now he’ll have more time to default on $75 million state loans for his businesses while crying about big government on his social media accounts.

    • DaveGoroson Apr 20, 2016 6:47 pm

      I’m surprised no one in the media sees the parallel between the current political correctness in Hollywood and the Hollywood blacklist of the 1940s and 1950s. Back then they were blacklisted for their personal belief (communism) contrary to the majority in Hollywood while today people like Curt are being blacklisted (fired) for expressing a view contrary to the majority in Hollywood. As George Santayana once famously said,”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

      • on Apr 20, 2016 9:29 pm

        Yeah. You’re profound.

        • Chris Handon May 3, 2016 6:37 pm

          Yeah. You’re anonymous…

      • Nickon Apr 20, 2016 10:25 pm

        There is no parallel, in fact there’s a huge difference. The blacklist of the 40s and 50s was over accusations of communism which were often false. People were encouraged to spy on and turn in their friends for “secret” unproven beliefs.
        Currently, people like Schilling are making public posts that affect their persona to millions of fans and can cause damage to brands like ESPN. Schilling wasn’t fired for his opinion. He was fired for using his public persona to make discriminatory and bigoted comments that could affect how he is perceived by those who watch ESPN. It’s a business decision for ESPN first and foremost. In no way is it a witch hunt. If you choose to be a public figure, you choose to realize that certain actions and statements will affect how your are perceived by the public, and if that brings tarnish to the brand you are associated with, you understand that there are repercussions to your actions and statements.

        • on Apr 21, 2016 4:21 am

          Just keep those f ng freaks
          out of my bathroom!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Michael Eric Paytonon Apr 21, 2016 6:39 am

          If ESPN wanted to appeal to the broader audience, they certainly would not be sucking up to .002% of the American public and infuriating the red-blooded sports fans who used to make up their core demographics.

        • on Apr 21, 2016 7:52 am

          Espn should have backed him up
          and made the statement requesting that the
          Feds require a single family bathroom
          in addition to
          anywhere there are large f/m
          bathrooms.
          How many 1% are going to be using these
          that the entire country has to
          be allowed to be victimized with stress.

      • Paul928on Apr 21, 2016 1:26 am

        To call your argument a “false equivalent” is too much of an understatement. Let’s just call it “naive” instead. You have your right to an opinion, and you have a right to share that opinion. But the company you work for, doesn’t have to accept your opinion. Just like on Deadline, if I post something offensive, it is completely acceptable for them to delete said post, and/or ban me from continuing to do it. Deadline does not care if I say these things in private or publicly while supporting a particular political candidate.

        The McCarthy witch trials were indeed about political correctness. Political correctness that discriminated against anyone that had a different point of view. That however, is where the similarities end.

        Schilling is not the aggrieved party here. Those that are ridiculed and harassed on a daily basis are the true victims. Schilling is the oppressor, he’s the Joe McCarthy in your scenario. Kurt Schilling won’t be blackballed or blacklisted for his support of discrimination…and you know it. People like yourself will come to his defense and support him. Schilling will continue to do what he wants, and continue to say what he wants. He will simply become a poster child for the right, and for those that wrongly use his firing as something more than the dismissal of a man unable to accept anyone different than himself.

      • Callahanon Apr 21, 2016 5:14 am

        Good point. I love the way South Park actually gets this politically-correctness-run-amok culture better than almost anyone else. It’s the super buff, dark shades wearing, alpha male principal who demands that all toe the line of political correctness at the school he runs with an iron fist. PC is no longer an ideology that exists to help the little people get through their lives. It’s now used as a bludgeon to keep everybody in line. How true that these days, we are all searching for the next thing that will offend us, just so we can feel empowered by correcting them. When it’s the PC crowd who have become the ones wielding the barb-wired baseball bat, it’s time to rethink our position.

      • Michael Eric Paytonon Apr 21, 2016 6:37 am

        They see it. They’re just too afraid to speak out.

      • dman6015on Apr 21, 2016 7:48 am

        No, Dave, he simply did something to piss off his employer, ESPN. Has nothing to do with Hollywood. All speech is NOT free, especially when it involves shining a negative light on your employer.

  2. Miguela Horseyon Apr 20, 2016 5:18 pm

    Goodbye and good riddance.

  3. Garyon Apr 20, 2016 5:23 pm

    Translation: If you work for ESPN, they own your mind and mouth

    • Richard H.on Apr 20, 2016 5:51 pm

      If you have a job as a sports commentator, maybe you should just stick to sports and leave the social issues to government and citizens. Now he’ll have loads of time to pine about losing millions of Rhode Island taxpayer money.

    • wishinwellon Apr 20, 2016 7:17 pm

      Too bad they don’t have upvotes on this, u would get an like from me.

    • Mark Gon Apr 20, 2016 9:35 pm

      His mind and mouth are alive and well and he’s free to use them as he wishes. There are always consequences, he made his point and ESPN made theirs.

    • Jimmyon Apr 21, 2016 7:26 am

      Yes, that’s true of any company you work for. Americans free to speak their minds whenever and however they want, but the company you work for is not constitutionally required to help you do that. Schilling is still free to spout his hateful crap, he just can’t do it while on ESPN’s dime.

    • dman6015on Apr 21, 2016 7:50 am

      Hey, Gary, every employer owns your mouth. There’s no such thing as free speech when it comes to your employer. They have every right to fire you for bringing negative publicity upon them.

  4. AOion Apr 20, 2016 5:35 pm

    this PC culture and country is going down…and fast

    • IndustryMexicanon Apr 20, 2016 5:54 pm

      “I hate this PC culture” = “I hate that I can’t make jokes about Mexicans selling oranges or women drivers without being called out on it.”

      • Mr.Jon Apr 20, 2016 8:19 pm

        “I hate that I can’t make jokes about Mexicans selling oranges or women drivers without being called out on it.”

        I disagree with the above statement. I hate PC culture, because it stifles debate and forces the view of the dominant culture on everyone. If you question it. You stand to lose your career, your reputation, and possibly more. It crazy how caddle minded the general population is and how many of them just parrot whatever News Corp tells them.

        • Jimmyon Apr 21, 2016 7:28 am

          What “debate” is Schilling having? Posting that picture is not a debate. It’s meant to demean people who are different. If he wanted to have a debate about transgender issues, shares his opinion of them, there are many public forums where he could that, where he can STILL do that. That picture is not having a debate.

      • DJon Apr 21, 2016 7:47 am

        Yeah, and you know who love to spin those type of jokes? The progressive plutocrats at cocktail parties in New York City. Hypocrisy is in all. Take a look.

    • No One of Consequenceon Apr 20, 2016 6:27 pm

      Yes, what a horrible injustice that a guy who has blatantly violated the terms of his employment contract several times finds himself out of a job.

    • dman6015on Apr 21, 2016 7:51 am

      Nope. Has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with embarrassing your employer. They have the right to fire you. No free speech issue here.

  5. Frankon Apr 20, 2016 5:37 pm

    Only in these ultra PC times could you lose your job over what you say and believe outside of work. These liberal thought police will stop at nothing to make George Orwell’s 1984 a reality.

    • boocat (@boocatbutterbee)on Apr 20, 2016 5:55 pm

      And the PC madness is spreading like a stain. I think it won’t be too long before we are all going to be in danger of suffering this ridiculous fate because of things we have said or written or read outside of our workplace.

    • No One of Consequenceon Apr 20, 2016 6:29 pm

      Yes, the old days where you could ignore whatever your bosses tell you several times over and never get fired for it were much better.

      Schilling is no patron saint of Free Speech. He is an entitled former jock who thinks the rules don’t apply to him.

      • Mr.Jon Apr 20, 2016 8:22 pm

        He may be, but it does give way to the terrifying reality of the censorship Renascence we are going through. Granted it’s also possible ESPN wanted him gone before and this was just a PR move, but I still don’t like it.

        • No One of Consequenceon Apr 21, 2016 9:35 am

          Just keep telling yourself you are being persecuted.

    • Paulon Apr 20, 2016 6:43 pm

      Perhaps Shilling should have just kept his opinions baseball related, and he would still have his overpaid, underworked job. He’s a fool for blowing it all because of his conservative “family values” BS.

  6. on Apr 20, 2016 5:41 pm

    Good riddance tired of your comments about yourself whenever the opportunity presented itself on ESPN

  7. CBon Apr 20, 2016 5:41 pm

    Ah…ESPN telling us how inclusive they are after firing someone for holding a private opinion different from their own.

    • Losers are winningon Apr 20, 2016 8:28 pm

      and if he proclaimed his love for Nazi’s does that cross your line?

    • on Apr 20, 2016 10:43 pm

      It’s not private when he says it out loud.

    • Duhon Apr 20, 2016 10:52 pm

      Private opinion isn’t the same as publicly posting your opinion on social media for the world to see. If I say I hate black people on my Facebook page, I won’t go to prison thanks to the First Amendment, but I may lose my job because my employer will think it hurts their image to employ a bigot. Learn the difference.

  8. Bradon Apr 20, 2016 5:46 pm

    About Time. Bye Bye Bigot.

  9. Mikieon Apr 20, 2016 5:46 pm

    Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence. He works for a huge media company, so of course his personal comments can have an impact on his professional life.

    If you want what you say to not impact you professionally, then work for a company that fully aligns with your views. Otherwise don’t post your thoughts on social media.

    • AOion Apr 20, 2016 5:55 pm

      keep pushing that ridiculous ideology and soon enough it will come for you. One day you will make an off-hand comment or post and this PC culture will come for you. Comes to a point when it needs to stop.

      • Sanjay (@sanjayco11ins81)on Apr 20, 2016 6:57 pm

        You mean we’ll all live in a world where bigots can’t spout their nonesense, and spread their hate-filled ideas and not get away with it?? Where do i sign up again?

        • Lionesson Apr 21, 2016 1:51 am

          What’s bigoted about believing that the delusions of the mentally ill shouldn’t take precedence over a woman’s right to privacy? Not to mention security. Not long ago, a young man walked into a women’s restroom and murdered his teacher. Shilling merely said what most people think. ESPN’s response should have been a statement that it didn’t agree with his views, but that it supported his right to say them, a la Voltaire. But heaven forbid any leftist media entity be as high-minded as that.

    • Terryon Apr 20, 2016 6:04 pm

      So what you are telling us is that people should abandon their personal views and instead adopt the views of their employer? I can see the day coming in the future when employer’s ask you in your job interview about the hot topics of the day to ensure they don’t get anyone who might have a mind of their own. We can’t have people with differing opinions. They’re dangerous.

      What ESPN should do is tell the SJW nutjobs that people’s private opinions are their own and do not represent the company. But they have no backbone and they fold like a cheap lawn chair everytime.

      • Mikieon Apr 20, 2016 10:38 pm

        You’re assigned words I never used. I never said someone should abandon their personal views. Just know that if you say something in a public space (this case, social media), it can be held against you. It’s not like he said these comments at his family dinner and ESPN found out. That would be different. He said bigoted things on social media, and these comments didn’t align with ESPN’s stance on the issue, so they’re within their right to release Schilling from his contract.

        Schilling didn’t have to abandon his views; he just needed to be more careful where and how he expressed them.

  10. Jinjeonon Apr 20, 2016 5:50 pm

    Of course ignorants are coming out of the woodwork to lament the awful PC policy. No it’s not PC policy i’s common sense. If your boss is open-minded you have to keep your close-minded views for yourself. If not don’t be surprised if you get fired for your utter ignorance. Good for EPSN! Btw he was a lousy commentator so no loss here.

    • Stavros Hadjiyiannison Apr 20, 2016 6:34 pm

      Do you even remotely realize how close you are to outright totalitarianism? Freedom of speech means that people should be allowed to say what they think even if a large section of the population finds it offensive, insensitive or even racist. Just because some people are shocked by everything that is not compatible with the most extreme political correctness imaginable. I used to be strongly left wing myself, but the current PC movement in the Western World reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in Maoist China. At least Maoist China had the very reasonable excuse of being an extremely underdeveloped country that had only recently liberated itself from colonialism. What is the excuse for the current narrow mindedness exhibited in the US and Europe?

      • rinaexon Apr 20, 2016 7:30 pm

        “Freedom of speech means that people should be allowed to say what they think even if a large section of the population finds it offensive, insensitive or even racist.”

        Actually, it mean that the government can’t arrest you for it. From what I can tell, he’s still a free man. It doesn’t mean that your employer can’t fire you.

        • Duhon Apr 20, 2016 10:57 pm

          I don’t know why this is so hard for people to understand. If I work for Disneyland and I have thousands of followers on Facebook and I start saying how much I hate Hispanics and Disneyland has a ton of Hispanic visitors then they’d be stupid to continue to employ me or they’d be sending the message their employees don’t want their business. Disney doesn’t want to send the message that they employ someone with values that openly contradict their own. Not sure what people aren’t getting.

  11. on Apr 20, 2016 5:53 pm

    ESPN and Disney and Cirque du Soleil circus are all showing corporate anger at states that don’t tow the liberal PC line on transgenders and gays but they all make money by selling shows and movies and doing performances in Middle East countries where gays are executed they are put to death for their “sinful homsexuality” some of them are thrown off rooftops or hanged in the public square. If these companies really want to be PC they should refuse to make any money from countries that kill their gay citizens.

    • on Apr 20, 2016 6:27 pm

      I know and follow the rules where I work. Maybe Shilling should do his job

      • Kimberley Willay-Jenkinson Apr 21, 2016 3:38 am

        Hey, Shouldnt Bryan Adams, Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen just “DO THEIR JOB” and perform those concerts in NC?

        Wait. You will disagree.

        People paid for tickets. Essentially the consumer is your boss when you are an entertainer.

        The terms of the arrangement are simple.

        People buy tickets. Singers perform for their amusement.

        But see you snarkily opine that Schilling should just do his job while likely acting as if Springsteen’s refusal to do his is somehow brave and amazing.

        Both are equal.

        Both Schilling and Springsteen are ENTERTAINERS who injected politics where they dont belong.

        Schilling is paid to talk fastballs, Springsteen is paid to sing “Glory Days”.

        So either you agree that those musicians should do their job and play in NC or you are a hypocrite who only wants it one way.

        Which is it?

        • on Apr 22, 2016 9:43 am

          Lol, no the consumer is not your boss if you are an entertainer. That idea and comparison are so absurd and clearly false.

          An entertainer’s “boss” is the tv network/studio/maybe the record label. The consumer is still just that, a consumer. Nice try though.

    • on Apr 20, 2016 6:36 pm

      Are you unable to understand the *different leverages* in established business relationships within a more tolerant culture, vs fledgling ones under less tolerance? For the latter case, look up the effects of info penetration (freedom of expression and exchange of ideas) after the chernobyl incident that led to perestroika.

    • w.j.on Apr 20, 2016 6:48 pm

      The problem with your statement is the United States should know better. Americans preach about what a wonderful democracy they have, yet they want to promote hate because of indifference/anger to political correctness? Being politically correct means being American, and free of hatred and promoting equal rights for all its citizens. Pushing the hate button is not what American principles are based on as a democracy. The middle east is an entirely different world.

  12. Deemzeron Apr 20, 2016 5:53 pm

    how about common sense? disney is espn and they have been a gay / lgbtq friendly company for a long long time… you can hate all you want but know who you work for. dumb

  13. on Apr 20, 2016 5:57 pm

    “Liberal thought police”? Are you joking?

    Quoted from NY Times: [Schilling’s] post showed an overweight man wearing a wig and women’s clothing with parts of the T-shirt cut out to expose his breasts. It says: “LET HIM IN! to the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow-minded, judgmental, unloving racist bigot who needs to die.”

    To that, Schilling added: “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

    When you’re a public figure representing a company, you will get fired for making a strong supporting statement about a subject that many feel deals with discriminatory practices. It’s common sense.

    • Terryon Apr 20, 2016 6:14 pm

      Wrong. It was a personal opinion on a personal Facebook page. It was not on an ESPN broadcast or on the ESPN website. He was not representing ESPN in any capacity when he made those comments.

      • on Apr 20, 2016 10:44 pm

        According to his employment contract he was.

    • Reallyon Apr 20, 2016 8:09 pm

      So, can any random man slap on a wig and a one-piece and hang out in the women’s changing room while your family is at Splash Mountain? Would they all like that? Would they want to keep coming back day after day to change clothes and use the bathroom knowing he’s in there? Really?

  14. on Apr 20, 2016 6:07 pm

    ESPN people are a bunch of oversensitive wussies. Go to Fox sports 1 people. Its way better and you don’t have to deal with these morons.

  15. on Apr 20, 2016 6:09 pm

    So much for freedom of speech

    • wishinwellon Apr 20, 2016 7:40 pm

      anonymous-Up vote for your comment, but we do have power against these that want to curtail our freedoms- it’s called our wallets and watch another sports channel.

    • on Apr 20, 2016 10:46 pm

      I always find it funny how the people who moan the most about freedom of speech are the ones who understand it the least.

      Unless Curt Schilling is sitting in a jail cell at the moment, his freedom of speech has not been violated.

  16. on Apr 20, 2016 6:13 pm

    This country is a fuckin joke, tell us what else we re supposed to believe PC police, ridiculous

  17. on Apr 20, 2016 6:13 pm

    Fuck espn!!! Ooh the game is on….

  18. Paulon Apr 20, 2016 6:47 pm

    I’m wondering if any of you against this decision are even employed. Your actions reflect on your employer, especially someone high profile like Schilling, and an employer as high profile as Disney.

    Save that “freedom of speech” nonsense. You can say whatever you wish, but don’t be surprised that you’ll have to face the consequences.

    • alexon Apr 21, 2016 2:09 am

      Exactly. It’s shocking that so many people completely misunderstand the First Amendment.

  19. nbtxon Apr 20, 2016 7:28 pm

    Not a fan of Schilling, talks way too much on broadcasts, ,though he does know what he is talking about.
    I don’t have a problem with what he posted, though it was unnecessary. Not offensive, just no reason to comment.
    He had to know what the outcome would be.
    ESPN just sucks, I try to avoid it as much as I can, though I know that for the time being we are trapped by ourt cable systems paying the outragous subscriber rates to ESPN. That will change in the next few years.

  20. Jackon Apr 20, 2016 7:43 pm

    The main issue with this country is that people are way too politically correct. So what if he has an opinion? Does that get in the way of him doing his job? Come on ESPN

  21. handsomesmittyon Apr 20, 2016 8:14 pm

    Corporate blackmail – you WILL assimilate.

    I remember watching the original Caan Rollerball when I was a young adult, thinking, no way corporations could run the world.

    Man, was I ever wrong.

    There is no government, no citizens: there is only business.

    • Silent Majorityon Apr 21, 2016 4:29 am

      So true.

    • Billon Apr 21, 2016 9:00 am

      The Rollerball comparison is apt. That movie is even more relevant today.

  22. TFLon Apr 20, 2016 9:31 pm

    CS has never shied away from the fact that he is fully in bed with Mormons, Baptists, Ted Cruz, the Graham family and all thr other Bible ignorant fools of the Fascist fringe. ESPN finally said “enough!” God bless Disney for FINALLY doing the right thing.

  23. Joshon Apr 20, 2016 10:16 pm

    Oh no! The liberal PC fascists fired Schilling just because repeatedly violated the terms of the contract he willingly signed. What has our nation come to?

  24. J.T. Wilsonon Apr 20, 2016 11:23 pm

    When did we as citizens lose our right to freedom of speech and expression? We have become sorry worried about everybody else feelings that we can not speak our mind. It might be be time to punt..

  25. ICouldn'tHeartheNorahJonesOvertheSighingon Apr 21, 2016 12:40 am

    He clearly signed a contract that acted as a willfully affixed muzzle on things like social media, personal blogs, and other forms of media which may in fact be in owned in small part by The Walt Disney Company through investment (example: Hulu is a third Fox, third Disney, third original owners I believe), but regardless of ownership, he knew he was signing up for a salary leveraged against the opportunity cost given up in via his freedom of personal expression in the media marketplace.
    If quoted on the golf course, a backyard BBQ, etc. I think TWDC would have a hard time shredding up his contract.
    True as this may be, PC culture demands those in opposition to whatever progressive flavor of the week movement is in style, to silence themselves rather than allowing for the right to social objection.
    I don’t care what anyone has going on under their clothes, or what they associate as, or how or where they want to use the restroom, I don’t care, though would I like to not have to explain to my kids gender differences in a public forum long before I wanted to and before they were ready because someone who isn’t a woman, conventionally, uses the women’s restroom and traumatizes my daughter or vice versa with my son? Well, it’d be nice to at least have my argument be as valid as those trying to seek the freedom to demand we all play stupid for them regarding what gender they clearly were born as and what contrasting gender they became. Progressive does not mean progress. How long before “progress” means taking away unfair advantages given out of guilt and hundred+ Year old injustices?
    Schilling is a d-bag dating back to his days in Philly, and Transgender folks, do and be as you like but know that everyone else lives here too, and I ask, you say you associate as a man/woman, correct? This is because you are what…? Exactly…

    • dman6015on Apr 21, 2016 7:53 am

      Bottom line is – every employer has the right to fire you if you do something to bring bad publicity upon them. No free speech issue. No political correctness nonsense. It’s their right.

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