~Lorenzo Patrick (@smartspeak89)
Why are we mad at Curt Schilling?
If you haven’t heard or noticed by now, the former hero of Yawkey Way was fired on Wednesday from ESPN for commenting on and sharing an offensive meme of the transgender community on Facebook. “ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated,” said ESPN in a statement.
Call me crazy, but I don’t get why everyone’s upset, especially the World Wide Leader. Admittedly, there’s room for anger if you look at this case in a vacuum. Saying that you agree with a meme that essentially says transgender people only want access to the corresponding public bathroom of their new gender to have an easier time attempting to rape children is hardly intelligent for a public figure.
Let alone one whose employer has reminded him repeatedly to use more tact. Tact, by the way, that wouldn’t include doubling down on sharing that meme with a comment.
However, placing this incident in said vacuum would mean ignoring his August 2015 suspension for a lazy comparison of members of the Muslim faith and the German population that gave rise to Nazism. Or misremembering that time when he said Hillary Clinton should be “buried under a jail somewhere.” Or any of the random unsavory memes he’s shared on social media.
As a matter of fact, to be upset at any of the follies he’s had while at ESPN is to not really understand Schilling. This is the same man who harped on Manny Ramirez for being disrespectful to the team and his teammates when he left the Red Sox in 2008. “The guy got to dress in a locker away from the team for seven years,” said Schilling during one of his many interviews with Boston’s WEEI that year. “And then he’s on this crusade to get out of here, all of a sudden he’s in the locker room every day, voicing his displeasure without even having to play the game that night.” Had Curt forgotten about his time with the Phillies by then? A week wouldn’t go by without him whining, grandstanding, or generally complaining about the condition of the team. His former general manager, Ed Wade, sums up his time there nicely:
“Every fifth day, Curt has the opportunity to go out and be a horse on the mound. Unfortunately, on the other four days, he tends to say things which are detrimental to the club and clearly self-serving.”
Or, my favorite version of this quote, “Every fifth day, Curt’s our horse. The other four he’s our horse’s ass.”
He was that same gadfly when he wrote his unsolicited “Letter to America” after the 9/11 attacks. He was that same gadfly when he became a fixture in Boston sports talk radio in 2004 and beyond. He was that same gadfly when he came to ESPN in 2010 as an analyst. This is a man that has publicly shown you who he is for more than 20 years. As he posted on his blog defending these thoughts, “I’m loud, I talk too much, I think I know more than I do, those and a billion other issues I know I have. Like everyone one of you I have flaws, but I’m ok with my flaws, they’re what make me, me.” Why be mad at him? Be mad at ESPN for being notoriously uneven in how it punishes on-air personalities for perceived digressions. More importantly, be mad at ESPN for expecting more.