I can’t say I was heartbroken when I heard ESPN fired Curt Schilling for controversial remarks he made about transgender people. His remarks were void of any substantial and intelligent insight into the transgender community, and only incites anti-trans rhetoric. Furthermore, political comments he’s made in recent years have made me wonder if he thinks he works for Fox News instead of ESPN. However, I do think ESPN made a terrible mistake in their recent decision to cut Schilling footage of his “bloody sock” game from their “Four Days in October” documentary about the 2004 World Series.
In Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, Curt Schilling pitched a masterful game against the Bronx Bombers even though he was in intense pain from a torn tendon sheath. Despite the injury bleeding through his sock, Schilling pitched seven innings and gave up only one run (the sock sold for $92,613 to an anonymous bidder in a 2013 auction). Schilling’s performance that night made it all the easier for the Red Sox to advance to the World Series, where they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in four games.
Schilling’s callous remarks not only offend the LGBTQ community, but embarrassed ESPN. As I stated in an earlier article, Schilling has every right to his opinion, and I would defend his right to express his opinion. But as a private company, ESPN has a right to protect its interests, and they felt letting Schilling go was a way to protect themselves. Despite his views, I’m having a hard time understanding why ESPN had to cut Schilling footage from their documentary about the Red Sox historic 2004 season. Schilling’s brilliant pitching was a key factor in the Red Sox success that season, and he’s already been punished once. So with that said, I don’t see why cutting footage from the documentary is necessary?
To cut the Schilling footage from the ESPN documentary because it depicts a ballplayer prone to controversy is a very slippery slope. What’s next? Do we take out all references to Tris Speaker at Fenway Park? You know the Hall of Famer was once a proud member of the KKK in Texas (though he changed his ways later in life when he mentored Larry Doby, the American League’s first black player). Maybe ESPN did it because Schilling’s words are still fresh in people’s minds, but where does one draw the line between continual punishment and moving on?
Schilling’s footage should be restored to the ESPN documentary because his political views had nothing to do with his success on the mound.