Yesterday, ESPN suspended Curt Schilling and removed him from the broadcast crew for the 2015 Little League World Series for retweeting a photo of Hitler bearing the caption, “It is said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?” Schilling added the comment, “The math is staggering when you get to the #’s.”
After initially defending the post, Schilling changed his tune but it was too late. ESPN suspended him almost immediately and issued the following statement:
Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective. We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration.
It is an interesting choice of words. Notice how ESPN doesn’t dispute the accuracy of the retweet. Depending on who you speak to, extremists comprise anywhere between 0.1% (President Obama), 3% (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) or 10-15% (Daniel Pipes) of the Muslim population. Whatever the figure, it represents a critical mass as hundreds of people on a train from Amsterdam to Paris found out last weekend. I realize comparisons to the Third Reich are touchy, but given the high levels of anti-Semitism in the Middle East methinks the number of Muslims who would like to see Jews in gas chambers easily exceeds 5 to 7%.
Rather ESPN objects only because it doesn’t represent their perspective. In other words, had Schilling praised Iran’s nuclear deal, Black Lives Matter, or had criticized Donald Trump then he would be in the broadcast booth talking about the strike zone of a four and a half foot tall little leaguer from Bowling Green.
Schilling would subsequently send out another tweet which read, “I understand and accept my suspension. 100% my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part.”
The former pitcher was probably left with no choice. It was either that or be terminated. Although Schilling made millions as a player, he went into the video game business setting up shop in Rhode Island with much fanfare and before it could get to first base it was game over. If he lost the ESPN gig then he’s pretty much up the creek unless the MLB Network, Fox Sports, or TBS takes pity on him. Let’s also remember that Schilling has also fought cancer within the past year and no doubt his medical expenses are fairly substantial.
Earlier this year, Schilling won wide praise for tracking down Twitter trolls who wrote vile things about his daughter Gabby after he congratulated her for being accepted at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island.
I understand that ESPN is technically within its rights to suspend Schilling. Nevertheless, I think their perspective as to what constitutes acceptable views is rather narrow.