Despite appearing to violate an ESPN policy on commentary relating to the presidential election, Curt Schilling will be back on the network’s baseball team. ESPN confirmed that the controversial former pitcher will be a part of its “Monday Night Baseball” telecasts, this after comments earlier in March that Hillary Clinton “should be buried under a jail somewhere.”
The website Vocativ broke the news Wednesday, noting that at the time of Schilling’s remarks about Clinton, an ESPN spokesperson said, “We are addressing it.” The six-time all-star pitcher, who has gained notice for frequently using social media to share conservative-minded memes and commentary, had this to say to a Kansas City sports radio station when asked if Clinton should go to jail for using a private email server:
“I hope she does. If I’m gonna believe, and I don’t have any reason not to believe, that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server after what happened to General [David] Petraeus, she should be buried under a jail somewhere.” …
“If [Clinton is] allowed to get to the general election before she’s in prison, I’ll be stunned and upset,” Schilling added.
At the start of the year, ESPN had announced its “2016 Presidential Election coverage policy,” in which the network noted, “Our reputation and journalistic credibility are of paramount importance — and that extends to our coverage of the Presidential Election, candidates, issues and the intersection of sports and society.” The policy contained this passage:
“We should refrain from political editorializing, personal attacks or “drive-by” comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns. Approved commentaries on sports-specific issues, or seeking responses from candidates on relevant news issues, are appropriate. However perceived endorsements should be avoided.”
A September filing with the Federal Election Commission, one that was brought to light in February by CNN, showed that Schilling donated $250 to the presidential campaign of Ben Carson. Where he was asked to state his employer, Schilling wrote, “ESPN (Not Sure How Much Longer)” and under “Occupation,” he wrote, “Analyst (For Now Anyway).”
That donation was made a week after Schilling was taken off of ESPN’s baseball coverage for posting a meme to Twitter that compared Muslims extremists to Nazis. In November of 2014, another ESPN baseball analyst, Keith Law, got into a Twitter-based dispute with Schilling after the latter posted tweets that questioned the science on evolution.
In the wake of that exchange, Law was reportedly ordered by ESPN to stay off of social media for several days, but Schilling appeared to have no such punishment levied against him. If he was in a joyous mood Wednesday following the public confirmation of his return to the airwaves, Schilling didn’t show it on social media, but he did provide an affirmative comment on his Facebook page to someone who referred to Clinton as a “POS.”