By now, most people are aware that former Phillies 1990's pitching ace Curt Schilling was recently suspended from his gig covering the Little League World Series for ESPN, and removed for a week from his Sunday Night Baseball broadcast on the network.
What most are unaware of is the true reason: a "witch hunt" mentality which saw his actual actions distorted completely by the numerous people who dislike his outspokenness and his politics.
Now the rest of this post is going to deal with difficult topics like "math" and "truth", so if you have a rough time with either of those, or prefer your "sports" in the tame realm of scores and trades and such, you might want to just move along.
But if you genuinely care about why it is important that you NOT blindly follow the anti-Schillites, not allow yourself to take part in this partisan witch hunt, then please, read on.
Let's first address what actually happened to cause the suspension. Schilling was accused of making, or more appropriately sharing, an "anti-Muslim" statement. He was further charged by some with comparing Muslims to Nazis. Some never actually state what it is specifically that he said or shared, just that whatever it was, was "offensive" in some way.
Here is the specific post that caused all of the uproar, unfiltered:
Now let's see what this posting and graphic does not do: nowhere does it compare "Muslims" to "Nazis", instead it compares Muslim "extremists", radicals such as ISIS and al Qaeda, to 1940 German "extremists" known as Nazis.
If you disagree with this graphic or his tweet, is your argument that Nazis were not extremists? Is your argument that there are no Muslim extremists? Is your argument that Muslim extremism is not a genuine problem in the world today?
Yes, there are extremists of all ilks: religious, political, sociological. And not all Nazis were Germans. But if your answer to any of the questions in that last paragraph is "Yes", that any of those statements is not true, then you are simply wrong, and you are ignorant of the truth of world events. I would ask, where were you on September 11th, 2001?
What DOES the graphic do: it compares the extremism of the Nazis of 1940 to the extremism of Radical Islam today. It also lists percentages. Maybe your problem is with the math, or the statistics?
In 1940, the population of Germany was approximately 70 million. Meanwhile, the Nazi Party membership in the country has been estimated at 5.3 million and rising by that year.
The point? That the graphic shared and commented on by Schilling is correct in regards to that issue. In fact, it may even be understating the 1940 problem. Do the math yourself.
In 2010, the global Muslim population was estimated at approximately 1.6 billion. Anti-extremism activist and national security expert Brigitte Gabriel, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, was quoted as follows:
"The radicals are estimated to be between 15 to 25 percent, according to all intelligence services around the world...You're looking at 180 million to 300 million people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization..."
Now keep in mind, she didn't mention violence by Muslims anywhere in that statement. The destruction of Western civilization, according to the radical Islamist fundamentalists, would involve simply the replacement of our current democracies with adherence to Sharia Law, however such a change can be attained.
Let's say her figures are greatly exaggerated. Let's say that the low figure in the graphic is closer to truth. Doing that math, 5% of 1.6 billion is 80 million radical Islamists.
These people want our society changed to one obedient to Sharia Law. If you don't know already, research how such a change would affect women, homosexuals, alcoholics, gamblers, those having unmarried sex, and frankly anyone who is not a Muslim.
If you don't see the analogy to 1940, especially with actively violent groups such as ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, and numerous other groups waging violent Jihad, then I would suggest that your first and most important effort should be in removing your head from the ground in which you have it buried.
Curt Schilling added his own little statement to the graphic. As seen above, Schilling tweeted out: "the math is staggering when you get to true numbers."
When there were 5 million Nazis and rising in 1940, we saw the destruction and violence they were capable of wreaking on the world in just a few years. When we see that "the math" Schilling talks about results in some 80 million radical Islamists today, well, if you don't agree with him that the numbers are staggering, again, I suggest the problem is yours, not his.
I also suggest that the problem is ESPN's, which put out the following official statement:
"Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective. We have removed him from his current assignment... pending further consideration."
I ask them, and those who have subsequently attacked Schilling, even calling for him to be outright fired from the network: what SPECIFICALLY was "completely unacceptable" about this tweet? And to ESPN, what IS your "company's perspective" on those specifics?
I would absolutely love to hear anyone from ESPN, or anywhere in fact, explain with specificity to the kids playing in the Little League World Series exactly why Curt Schilling was suspended from broadcasting their games.
My take? Political and social liberals, radical Islamist apologists, and simply those who just plain don't like Schilling because they think he is a big mouth in general all raised their voices, and ESPN acted rashly and with cowardice.
If you don't like Curt Schilling, that's one thing. If you simply think he is a bad broadcaster, that his opinions on baseball are hogwash, or that his voice is like chalk on chalkboard to you, fine. But guess what, that's why God made chocolate and vanilla. We all like and dislike a lot of things.
To take our personal dislike for a person and turn it into a witch hunt that calls for him to be vilified publicly as a human being, and to lose his livelihood? That's something else entirely.
One factor that I am not aware of, and one that has not popped up anywhere in public, is the idea of a contract between Schilling and ESPN. Is he under contract, one that specifically lays out policies on refraining from commenting in public forums on societal issues outside of baseball or sports while under their employment?
Curt Schilling is 5th on the Phillies all-time franchise Strikeouts list, 7th in Wins, 9th in Innings Pitched, and 7th in WHIP. That makes him a Top 10, possibly Top 5 all-time starting pitcher for a 133-year old franchise.
Plenty of Philly media types consider Schilling a big mouth. He is, and has frankly called himself one as well. None of those critics of his style can speak badly about his performance on the field.
None of those outstanding career baseball statistics would excuse reprehensible speech or behavior by Schilling. This ain't that. This is a witch hunt, plain and simple.
Sports fans and media members, anyone who cares about freedom in America, especially those who care about freedom of speech, should be supporting Schilling - loudly.