Schilling’s firing is a case of smart public relations, not social justice

Joe Stuart, Staff Writer

With 200-plus wins, 3,000-plus strikeouts and three World Series rings, Curt Schilling was one heck of a pitcher, and is possibly in the conversation for induction into the Hall of Fame.

But he also is a homophobic, racist bigot who garners a lot of negative press. For those reasons specifically he is no longer an analyst for the 24-hour sports network, ESPN.

If you don’t already know, Schilling was fired by ESPN last week, a few days after he shared a horrible anti-transgender meme on his Facebook page, with his own comment saying, “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

This is a horrible, terrible, hateful statement. It shows just the type of bigotry and xenophobia that run rampant in our country.

It’s the type of statement that have led many people who have struggled with their gender identity to feel like they are some sort of outcast, or have led individuals to self-harm or even commit suicide.

It’s the type of statement that has made transgender people, from junior-high teens to full grown adults, feel scared to embrace who they truly are.

I wish I could have fired Schilling myself.

Another thing that should be mentioned is that this is not the first time that Schilling has shared his bigotry with the world. There have been many instances of his xenophobia, with social media posts and real-life quotes of homophobia and racism, such as when he compared Islamic extremism in the United States to the rise of the Nazis in Germany.

But that’s all beside the point. In the aftermath of this whole debacle, many have criticized ESPN for caving into the “liberal media,” trying to constrain Schilling’s “freedom of speech,” and that Schilling being fired is an example of our forever increasing “politically correct culture.”

Those type of statements ooze with stupidity and falsity, even if it’s unintended.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the freedom of speech, expression, and the press. Without it, I probably couldn’t be writing this right now.

But ESPN is not the federal government. ESPN is a private organization. And a private organization that is constantly in the public view, being one of the most watched television networks in history.

ESPN does not have to allow its employees to say whatever they want without consequence. Freedom of speech applies to the government allowing its citizens to say what they want without consequence.

Think of it this way. If you went into work one day, and one of your fellow employees made the same statement Schilling did while associating themselves with whatever company you work for, that employee would be out faster than you could say “First Amendment.”

Secondly, this is not a case of ESPN caving to the “liberal media.” This is a case of ESPN doing a smart public relations move after one of their on-air personalities expressed a controversial opinion.

This is not the first time ESPN has done this. Last year, ESPN cut ties with columnists/on-air personalities Bill Simmons and Keith Olbermann after they both criticized the National Football League for not doing enough to crack down on a string of domestic-violence incidents committed by NFL players.

This is not a case of ESPN giving in to the so-called “liberal media,” rather this is a case of ESPN doing what they do when one of their on-air personalities says something controversial that brings them bad press or hurts their business relations.

So when Schilling made that statement on his opinion on transgender people, that was it. The final straw that broke the camel’s back, and the final screw-up that took him off the airways of the number one sports network in America.

And not because ESPN is filled with “weak liberals” who want to limit freedom of speech, but because they were making a smart business move.

Don’t get me wrong, Schilling’s statements are reprehensible. But don’t try to tell me that a major media company is some sort of activist group now.

ESPN was cutting their losses, and thankfully for the rest of us, that means one less bigot on his soapbox with a megaphone.