I can respect most people’s opinions regardless of whether I agree with them or not. The
exception comes when an opinion is based on bigoted assumptions and false information, which brings us to what Curt Schilling said yesterday about transgender people. In his latest blunder, Schilling recently posted (then deleted) a meme on his Facebook page swiping at activists who are currently combating the laws recently passed in southern states prohibiting transgender people from using bathrooms assigned to the gender with which they identify.
Specifically, Schilling said, “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.” It wasn’t just what Schilling said that was ignorant. It was also the accompanying image that further exacerbated the controversy. The image itself depicted a man wearing a blonde wig with holes cut in the front of his dress exposing parts of his body that mimic that of a woman’s. It was a disturbing and sickening image leading many to call for Schilling to step down as a commentator for ESPN.
I want to focus more on HOW Schilling presented his thoughts rather than what they were in the first place. Do I think Schilling should step down from ESPN altogether? Well, that depends. Schilling has a history of saying reckless things, including an hours-long rant last year about how evolution isn’t real. Again, it’s not his opinion that I disagree with, as much as how he presents it. Between his denial of evolution and his views on transgender people, Schilling has shown to be less than informed on both issues. He doesn’t cite any evidence to support his opinions, the research he has done on these issues wouldn’t live up to scrutiny in a kindergarten class, and perhaps worst of all, he enables others to follow his lead by suggesting that his ignorance equates to other people’s intelligence. There’s no doubt that Curt Schilling is a hero in the Red Sox Nation, especially after what he did in the 2004 World Series. But I can’t help but feel that he’s tarnishing the very reputation he’s worked an entire lifetime for all because he can’t think before he speaks.
What Should Curt Schilling Do Next?
There’s two things Curt Schilling should do in the future. First, he should stop and think about whether the opinion he’s about to convey to his audience is actually relevant to baseball. Second, if Schilling really feels that discussing his thoughts about these topics are that important, then he should take the time to do some legitimate research. That’ll not only make him sound a tad more intelligent, but he’ll have a chance to effectively defend his views (or at least try to; most anti-trans people are struggling to justify their opinions).
In no way do I agree with Curt Schilling’s views regarding transgender rights, or creationism. However, I absolutely defend his right to say them. We can’t silence someone just because we don’t like what they have to say. After all, he’s an American and has a right to voice his opinion. But he needs to understand that if he wants respect, regardless of whether people agree or disagree with him, articulating his thoughts more intelligently would go a long way. Then again, Schilling probably does not care what people think.