Curt Schilling, a former All-Star and World Series champion pitcher who transitioned into one of ESPN’s highest-profile baseball analysts, was fired from the network Wednesday, just two days after commenting on and promoting a controversial anti-transgender meme on his Facebook page.
The meme dealt with the controversial public restroom laws, which have been on ballots in states across the country throughout the past year and were most recently a topic in North Carolina. You can view the meme here.
Schilling immediately came under fire, but defended himself in a subsequent post on Tuesday. ESPN said it was looking into the matter initially, before coming to a decision and releasing this statement Wednesday.
“ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”
According to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, Schilling declined to comment publicly after Wednesday’s announcement, but had continued his defense earlier in the day during a radio appearance in Boston.
“To be in a place where people actually believe I’m a racist or I’m transphobic says to me that something has gone horribly askew somewhere,” he told the hosts on WEEI, sounding weary and bewildered by his latest social media furor.
Schilling told WEEI: “I replied to the post. I didn’t post that.”
This is far from the first controversy Schilling has been involved in as pertains to sharing his political views on social media and elsewhere. Last August, he was suspended for one month and ultimately removed from his spot on Sunday Night Baseball after posting on Twitter that compared radical Muslims to Nazis.
To the surprise of many, Schilling was brought back to serve as a postseason analyst before being added to the Monday Night Baseball broadcast team and the Baseball Tonight cast this season. Less surprising was the fact that Schilling maintained his outspoken ways and continued ruffling feathers right up until his final moments under ESPN’s employ.
Schilling had been with ESPN since 2010, serving in a variety of different roles. Now we’ll see where his life and career will take him, because everyone is well aware of the reputation that proceeds him.
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