ESPN baseball analyst and former major league pitcher Curt Schilling, no stranger to controversy on account of his loudly and publicly shared views on politics and social issues, has at long last exhausted his employer’s tolerance for his outspoken behavior. Schilling, who had worked for ESPN since 2010, got the axe on Wednesday after sharing a meme on Facebook related to the new “bathroom bills” limiting anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in North Carolina and other states, which many people found to be offensive and transphobic. The Los Angeles Times’ Chuck Schilken puts the news in context:
The 2001 World Series co-most valuable player (when he played for Arizona) has gotten in trouble before by expressing his opinions. He was dropped from ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series in August and then suspended for the rest of the Major League Baseball season for tweeting a meme that compared Muslims to Nazis.
Back in March, Schilling appeared to have violated ESPN’s [guidelines] for election coverage by stating that Hillary Clinton “should be buried under a jail somewhere” during a radio interview. ESPN said it addressed the matter with Schilling and allowed him to be part of its “Monday Night Baseball” broadcasts as planned.
In response to this week’s transgression, his employer finally pulled the plug, releasing a statement insisting that “ESPN is an inclusive company,” and announcing that “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.” Richard Deitsch at Sports Illustrated argues that Schilling gave ESPN’s management no choice: