Curt Schilling offers a wide variety of opinions, some of them politically controversial, on his Twitter feed. However, he won’t be offering his opinions about baseball on ESPN for the rest of the regular season, plus the wild-card round, after posting a tweet that offended many.
On Aug. 25, Schilling tweeted out a meme that showed a photo of Adolf Hitler, tinted in red, with this wording:
“It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists.
“In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis.
“How’d that go?”
Schilling added this comment: “The math is staggering when you get to true #’s.”
Later that day, Schilling deleted that tweet and posted this apology:
“I understand and accept my suspension. 100% my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part.”
However, ESPN immediately pulled the former pitcher off of its coverage of the Little League World Series. On Thursday, the company issued this statement:
“At all times during the course of their engagement with us, our commentators are directly linked to ESPN and are the face of our brand. We are a sports media company. Curt’s actions have not been consistent with his contractual obligations nor have they been professionally handled; they have obviously not reflected well on the company. As a result, he will not appear on ESPN through the remainder of the regular season and our Wild Card playoff game.”
As Politifact noted, the numbers in Schilling’s tweet, which was a meme he presumably did not create, may be “staggering,” but there’s little reason to think they are accurate. There are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, meaning that at least 80 million, or 5 percent, would be “extremists” in this calculation.
By contrast, one study recently concluded that there are about 100,000 armed jihadists currently in the world. And, Politifact pointed out, the actual enrollment in the Nazi party may have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 percent in 1940 (but probably higher), but in free elections in 1932, the Nazis came to power with 33 percent of the vote, indicating a far greater degree of national support for their policies.
ESPN replaced Schilling with Jessica Mendoza, a former Olympic softball player, on its most recent telecast of “Sunday Night Baseball.” It is unclear if she will continue in that role.