When Curt Schilling was fired from ESPN for posting and commenting on a meme about transgender Americans and bathrooms, he finally received a long-overdue taste of his own medicine.
(Disclaimer: this story is here because Curt Schilling is a Red Sox great and won two World Series as one of the best pitchers the Red Sox have had in decades, if not all time.)
By now, you’ve surely heard that ESPN, the world wide leader in toeing the line between sports and sociopolitical commentary, has fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling. You’ve also surely heard why. Earlier this week, Schilling, as he is prone to do, posted a meme and some comments about what he presumably deems a new threat (transgender people) and his mortal nemesis, the PC hippie liberal coalition.
It didn’t go well.
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Of course, Schilling is well-known for posting these types of things, and the only difference when something new pops up on his Facebook page is who’s grinding his gears this week. Previously, he’s posted his thoughts (usually in meme form) comparing abortion to slavery, racism, comparing Muslims to Nazis, and way too many more to list here. Curt is also quite a firm believer that, if you’re offended by what he posts, he’s exercising his right to free speech (which he is), and you being offended by it is your own fault.
Let’s say, hypothetically, YOU, yes, YOU, were to post something on the Internet that angered Curt Schilling – offended him, you might say – one would expect that he would respect your right to free speech, and as a result, not be offended at all. You know, go on living his life.
In March of 2015, Curt tweeted congratulations to his daughter, Gabby Schilling, who was accepted to Salve Regina University to play softball:
Very exciting! Proud moment right there. Kid’s a chip off the old block, you might say.
Things went south pretty quickly from there, with several people tweeting pretty awful things about Curt’s daughter at him. You can read some here if you want, but when I say they’re “pretty awful”, trust me. They’re bad.
So did Curt Schilling just let it slide (no baseball pun intended), since everyone has a right to free speech and getting offended is for losers?
Of course not! By now, this might have jogged your memory that Schilling put his Inspector Gadget hat on and found out that one guy was a student at Brookdale Community College, and another was the Vice President of the Theta Xi fraternity at Montclair State University, who was employed as a ticket seller by the Yankees.
Curt found this information in their profiles, and proceeded to post screenshots of both mens’ tweets, along with their full names, where they attended, and what they did on campus. He basically, to the extent that he was able to, doxed them, which is when you post someone’s personal information and then let angry mob justice take its course.
And it did! The kid at Brookdale Community College got suspended, and the other one was fired from his job, with the Yankees Director of Communications stating “We have zero tolerance for anything like this. We’ve terminated him.”
And just when you think the story couldn’t get any better, giving Curt’s current predicament, he goes and does something like this…and TOTALLY REDEEMS HIMSELF! (No, he doesn’t.)
Schilling took to his trusty blog to explain why he did everything he could to make sure the trolls paid for their tweets:
“I was a jock my whole life. I played sports my whole life. Baseball since I was 5 until I retired at 41. I know clubhouses. I lived in a dorm. I get it. Guys will be guys. Guys will say dumb crap, often. But I can’t ever remember, drunk, in a clubhouse, with best friends, with anyone, ever speaking like this to someone.”
“These boys have yet to understand one of life’s most important lessons,” Schilling wrote later on in his blog. “In the real world you get held accountable for the things you say and if you are not careful that can mean some different things.”
Let’s, as the sports guys say, break this down:
- Saying offensive things is OK, just as long as they’re not too offensive to the person hearing them.
- In life, especially in a career, you will be held accountable for what you say, especially if it is something you know is potentially offensive.
And that’s what makes Curt Schilling finally getting axed by ESPN, the World Wide Leader in DeflateGate Coverage, so damn satisfying. Whether you agree with Curt’s politics or religious beliefs is completely and utterly irrelevant. What IS relevant is Curt spent YEARS posting things he surely knew were not just stating his opinions, but degrading people, insulting them, and then doubling down afterwards, always throwing the “Everyone’s so easily offended these days! It’s my RIGHT to say what I want!” trump card as a rebuttal.
Unfortunately for Curt, and his bank account, it looks like, as he himself put it, has yet to understand one of life’s most important lessons.
And I’d bet on the Cubs winning a World Series before he does.