ESPN has fired network analyst and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling over his comments on Facebook about transgender people.
In a statement released on Wednesday, ESPN said: ‘ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.’
This week, Schilling, 49, reposted an image of an overweight man wearing a long blond wig and revealing women’s clothing. It included the phrase: ‘Let him in! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!!!’
Schilling added his own comments, saying, ‘A man is a man no matter what they call themselves’ and ‘Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.’
Schilling, whose 20-year playing career ended in 2007, was apparently referring to laws in several states that restrict bathroom access to transgender people.
The debate over gendered restrooms has centered around North Carolina’s House Bill 2, passed on March 25, which ordered public schools, government agencies and public college to designate bathrooms by biological sex stated on a person’s birth certificate.
Following the passing, the state suffered an avalanche of bad press and immediately after the announcement, PayPal, one of many companies that objected to the bill’s announcement, cancelled its $3.6million plans to open a center in Charlotte that would have brought 400 jobs to the state.
Bands Pearl Jam and Boston both cancelled their North Carolina gigs to protest the law.
On Tuesday, Schilling defended the post on his blog, saying he was expressing his opinion and those criticizing him are frauds.
‘Let’s make one thing clear right upfront,’ he wrote. ‘If you get offended by ANYTHING in this post, that’s your fault, all yours.’
He added: ‘This latest brew ha ha is beyond hilarious. I didn’t post that ugly picture. I made a comment about the basic functionality of men’s and women’s restrooms, period.’
Schilling appeared on WEEI radio in Boston on Wednesday and again defended himself against accusations of intolerance and racism, according to The New York Times.
‘To be in a place where people actually believe I’m a racist or I’m transphobic says to me that something has gone horribly askew somewhere,’ he told the hosts on WEEI.
‘I replied to the post. I didn’t post that,’ he added.
Schilling had been a game analyst for ESPN since the 2010 season, and appeared on the station’s flagship Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts in 2014 and 2015.
He was taken off Sunday Night Baseball as well as the 2015 Little League World Series after he posted a tweet that compared Muslims to Nazis.
The tweet shared a photo of Hitler, underneath text that read: ‘It is said that only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists … In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?’
And above the photo he commented: ‘The math is staggering when you get to true #s’.
At the time of the tweet, ESPN called it ‘unacceptable’, but kept him on staff, despite a history of anti-Muslim posts on his Facebook page, according to SBNation.
While making a political donation in September, he wrote on the form that his employer was ‘ESPN (not sure how much longer)’.
Just last month while appearing on a Kansas City radio station, he suggested that Hillary Clinton ‘should be buried under a jail somewhere’ if she gave ‘classified information on hundreds, if not thousands, of emails on a public server’
A six-time All-Star, Schilling played 20 years in Major League baseball and won the World Series in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007.