Schilling said in a WEEI radio interview that he put more than $50 million into his now-bankrupt 38 Studios video game company, which is based in Rhode Island. The company laid off its nearly 300-employee workforce last month after falling behind on a $1.1 million payment to the state.
“It’s been kind of a surreal 60, 75 days,” said Schilling, who earned just over $114 million during 19 major-league seasons. “It’s crushing and devastating to see it fail the way it did.”
Schilling is on leave from his job as an ESPN analyst and said he never drew a salary from 38 Studios. “I’m not asking for sympathy,” he told the “Dennis & Callahan” show. ”That was my choice. I chose to do this, I wanted to build it and I wanted to create the jobs and create something that had a long standing and world-changing effect. And we were close. We were close to getting there and it fell apart.”
There will be repercussions for him and his family, he said, although he’s not sure what specifically those will be. “It's not over yet,” he said. “I would imagine the next foreseeable time in our lives is going to be consumed by this. It's a life-changing thing.”
Schilling said he “absolutely” blamed himself, but placed some of the blame on Gob. Lincoln Chafee and Rhode Island officials. Chafee , he said, questioned the company’s solvency last month, as it was trying to raise private equity to keep operating. In 2010, Rhode Island officials had enticed the company to move from Massachusetts with a $75 million loan guarantee for the promise of creating 400 jobs. The state is trying to ascertain how much it owes.
“I think he had an agenda,” Schilling said of Chafee, who had opposed the loan guarantee when he was a candidate in 2010, and said he failed to work with an investor who was willing to put at least $15 million into the company. A spokeswoman for the governor said today that, after the loan was approved, Chafee was the company’s “biggest cheerleader.”
The company’s biggest project, an online multiplayer role-playing game named Copernicus, was set for a June 2013 release and, Schilling said, “the one thing we always listed as a going concern we couldn’t execute on.”