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ESPN Fired Curt Schilling Over a Facebook Post, but He’s No Stranger to Online Controversy

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Curt Schilling, the MLB pitcher turned baseball analyst, was fired by ESPN on Wednesday after he shared a post on his Facebook page that appeared to insult the transgender community.

“Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated,” the company said in a statement.

This is not the first time the 49-year-old former Boston Red Sox star, known for his outspokenness both during and after his playing career, has been at the center of social-media controversy. Here are a few past instances:

1. Creationism
In November 2014, he took to Twitter to argue in favor of creationism against evolution, sparking a prolonged, often unsavory debate with several Twitter users that lasted over four hours.

One of the most notable participants in the debate — on the proevolution, anti-Schilling side — was an ESPN colleague, baseball writer Keith Law, whose Twitter account was suspended soon after the argument. ESPN denied it had anything to do with Law’s absence from Twitter, which lasted a week. Schilling’s account was not suspended.

2. Muslims
In August 2015, however, ESPN barred Schilling from coverage of the Little League World Series after he tweeted an image that compared Muslims to Nazis.

“It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. how’d that go?” read the tweet, posted alongside an image of Hitler.

Schilling deleted the tweet and tendered an unconditional apology soon after, calling it “a bad decision in every way on my part.”

3. Getting Trolled
Earlier that year, in February, the former MLB pro found himself at the receiving end of online abuse following a tweet about his teenage daughter Gabby. Schilling’s congratulatory tweet on his 17-year-old daughter’s college acceptance, and her entry into its softball team, was seized upon by Twitter trolls, who posted vulgar responses alluding to rape and assault.

Schilling fought back hard, naming and shaming several of the offenders on his blog. At least two of them, including a part-time ticket seller for the New York Yankees, lost their jobs as a result.

“These boys have yet to understand one of life’s most important lessons,” he wrote on his blog. “In the real world you get held accountable for the things you say and if you are not careful that can mean some different things.”

Schilling’s penchant for wars of words stretches back beyond the social-media era as well. He has publicly feuded with everyone from fellow players, to the management of the teams he was playing for, to, of course, members of the media.

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Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com