The ace of the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies once again got himself in hot water, and this time it cost him. Should the Phillies step in and remove Curt Schilling from the team’s Wall of Fame too?
The Philadelphia Phillies have been adding names to the team’s Wall of Fame annually since 1978. To date, no name has ever come off the Wall of Fame, which now resides in Ashburn Alley. Some of the all-time greats in Phillies history are honored, including Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Darren Daulton, Harry Kalas… and Mike Lieberthal and Juan Samuel. Among the more recent inductees to the Wall of Fame is pitcher Curt Schilling, a former player who was never one to know when to shut his mouth while he was playing and in life after baseball. This week saw Schilling’s unfiltered stream of conscious catch up to him with ESPN firing him from his duties as a baseball analyst.
Schilling’s latest controversy was the latest in a line of polarizing social media commentary. Schilling took to his Facebook page to share a meme addressing North Carolina’s controversial bathroom law, mandating transgender people must use the bathroom of the gender they were born as opposed to the gender they currently identify. Schilling removed the controversial update from his Facebook page and later updated his blog with his expanded reaction to the reaction of his Facebook post.
“I’m loud, I talk too much, I think I know more than I do, those and a billion other issues I know I have. Like everyone one of you I have flaws, but I’m ok with my flaws, they’re what make me, me. I thank the Lord for the life I’ve been given. A life interspersed and occupied by men and women who are gay, by people of all races and religions, by men and women who dress as the other, by men and women who’ve changed to women and men. Not one decision I’ve ever made about a person has anything to do with those things I just mentioned, nor will it ever.” – Curt Schilling, April 19, 2016
Schilling’s post largely shifts the blame for being offended on those he believes are searching to be offended for the sake of being offended.
“If people want to create stories or impressions where there are none, and you want/need to get offended by them that’s on you.
But for now, if you want to be offended and have that offense be by something you THINK you interpreted or you THINK you heard, go for it.
But for the love of God stop making crap up, it’s boring and it’s stupid and there are actual causes that need attention such as homeless veterans and our archaic education system.” – Curt Schilling, April 19, 2016
Here is what is not made up about Schilling. He has, on more than one occasion, been disciplined or scolded by his employer for making controversial remarks in interviews or on social media. ESPN had enough of trying to get Schilling to stop coming off as an embarrassment to their brand, so they decided to fire him and no longer associate wit him. This is a fact, and Schilling cannot dispute that or shift the blame elsewhere.
“ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.” – ESPN statement, April 20, 2016
Schilling is entitled to his opinions whether you agree with them or not, but his freedom to share his opinions does not give him freedom to embarrass his employer without facing consequences. And yes, there are many causes worthy of our attention in this world, as Schilling points out with homeless veterans and the education system, but that doesn’t mean the issue he has become a focal point of is not unworthy of reaction. Schilling owns his words, which should be noted, but he refuses to make any attempt to see how his public postings may be received by the community or how hurtful they may be to others. People are not necessarily seeking out a reason to be offended. You’re just being offensive and blowing it off.
So, should Schilling stay on the Wall of Fame?
First, take a look at the eligibility requirements outlined by the Phillies in order to be eligible for consideration to the Phillies Wall of Fame;
“Players, managers and coaches with four or more years of service are eligible. All candidates must be retired for three years before they can be eligible for the 12-man ballot. In addition to a player’s statistical record, consideration is given to longevity, ability, contributions to the Phillies and baseball, character, plus special achievements.” – Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame eligibility requirements, per 2016 ballot.
Schilling checked all of those boxes, although the character question is open for debate. Schilling’s character was always worth discussing even when he played in Philadelphia by being so outspoken, and that has followed him since he departure from Philadelphia. When he was voted to the Wall of Fame, Schilling already had a questionable character with his outspoken nature, but it was determined there were far more positives compared to the negatives for Schilling’s case for the Wall of Fame when it came time to cast ballots and make a decision. Even in spite of this latest episode, there very likely is no chance the Phillies make any brash decision to remove Schilling’s spot on the Wall of Fame.
My opinion is Schilling may be a loud mouth idiot, but his spot on the Wall of Fame should not be removed. If the Baseball Hall of Fame can induct any number of scoundrels, then there is no reason the Phillies Wall of Fame can’t have one loudmouth jerk on it too. Schilling’s role in the Phillies organization was an influential one on and off the field, and his place in the organization’s history is still worth recognizing. It doesn’t mean I have to like him or his opinions.
But what do you think? Should the Phillies take Schilling off the Wall of Fame? You can cast your vote here.