ESPN Wrong to Omit Schilling Footage

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,Cut Schilling Footage 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.

Let’s Reflect On What Curt Schilling Said

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 Schilling saidprohibiting 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.