A Schilling for Your Thoughts: Every Sportscaster Political Now - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Schilling for Your Thoughts: Every Sportscaster Political Now

I’ve had to discard a pretty good gag that I’ve trotted out, to good reception, many times over the years, to wit: One of the main differences between men and women is that women have PMS while men have ESPN. A much better deal.

The network is less of a good deal now, for either sex, now that its executives appear to be more interested in advancing left political causes than they are in televising sports. One could be forgiven for supposing the network’s initials stand for Every Sportscaster Political Now. There’s not a leftist hobby-horse that this network doesn’t ride hard and put up wet. And in certain rarified circles, such as the ESPN executive suites in Bristol, Connecticut, suggesting any difference between the sexes is actionable.

Consider the dispiriting case of Curt Schilling. Had ESPN cashiered him because of his overwrought delivery and his tinny voice, or because while making his points he gets as wound up as a junior high school kid on the playground and so is almost impossible to listen to, I would have welcomed the development. He was a great pitcher in his day. I was much moved by his bloody-sock performance in 2004. And I certainly wish him the best in his battle with cancer. For all this he was badly miscast as a broadcaster.

But no, the dead serious progressives at ESPN did not fire Schilling for what would have been just cause. They cast him into outer darkness for clinging to the belief, held by everyone on the planet until recently, that male persons should use the gents’ and female persons the ladies,’ and for having the temerity to publicly proclaim this. That this unremarkable and common sense view should be in the least controversial, let alone a firing offense, shows just how far down the rabbit-hole we’ve fallen. Not to mention how deluded and intolerant our ruling elites have become.

Schilling had already been removed from Sunday Night Baseball for previously saying that there were certain parallels between German fascism and Islamic jihadists. (He did not, as left outlets have spun it, say Muslims were Nazis.) ESPN demoted Schilling from this assignment saying that his comparisons were repugnant while not suggesting any way in which the parallels were not apt. But truth is no defense when dealing with defenders of the left’s brave new world.

Schilling’s replacement on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball broadcasts is Jessica Mendoza, who is more pleasing to listen to than Curt, though she replaced him for the wrong reasons. My sources in left-wing media circles are telling me that ESPN is attempting to fill the remainder of Schilling’s analyst duties with Rachel Maddow. In a sane universe, you could dismiss rumors such as these out of hand. But as it is… Stay tuned.

Or not. It’s very difficult for traditional Americanos and sports fans to put up with ESPN’s constant hectoring of viewers to get right with the left. While Schilling’s endorsement of traditional understandings in a tweet was a firing offense, bloviating about issues dear to the radical left on air, especially anything the LGBT movement can dream up, is just fine. On-air ESPN employees have denigrated the New Mexico photographers who didn’t wish to participate in gay wedding ceremonies for religious reasons, made fun of Tim Tebow’s hardly over-the-top affirmations of his Christian faith, and made an outsized fuss about that gay defensive lineman who tried out for the St. Louis Rams but didn’t make it, even with all the sports press pulling for him. The fuss was not over the player’s modest football skills, but over the fact that he was gay.

The Bristol crowd has also hammed it up big time about how horrendous it is that Washington’s NFL entry is called the Redskins. They went overboard in covering the issues of concussions in the NFL. Lost their heads on the Duke lacrosse rape story, which turned out to be a hoax (and had every earmark of being one from the beginning). They seem to be able to find anti-black racism everywhere.

There’s more. And much of it also animates the rest of the sports media as well. But you get the point. Much of the stuff ESPN puts on the air, or enforces among its employees, would be unremarkable at MSNBC. But ESPN is supposed to be a sports channel, not a political opinion channel. What does any of this have to do with the game? And the game is what 99 percent of ESPN’s viewers tune in for.

“ESPN is an inclusive company,” the network cooed in a statement explaining Schilling’s firing. “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment has been terminated.”

Apparently ESPN’s vaunted inclusiveness does not include people with traditional views of social arrangements, which means that a majority of Americanos need not apply in Bristol because they’re just not ESPN material.

The mainstream media of course have met this news with equanimity, never letting on that ESPN was doing anything more than ridding itself of a lout and a bigot who had become an embarrassment and needed to be cut loose. Not a hint that anyone’s right to free speech was being violated, or that the views Schilling expressed were perfectly reasonable. An opinion piece referred to Schilling as a “loudmouth conservative.” Apparently in media-world, only conservatives come in the loudmouth variety. Googling under loudmouth liberal, I didn’t find a single story about or likeness of Keith Olbermann.

From where I sit, ESPN is the embarrassment.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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