That tweet, which was soon deleted, resulted in the former Major League Baseball star being suspended from ESPN's Little League World Series coverage
Schilling's comparison of Islam, a religion practiced by over 1.5 billion people, to the evil, fascist ideology of Nazism is not only patently wrong, but it's also fear-mongering at its worst. Islam is an Abrahamic faith intertwined with Judaism and Christianity. Not only do Muslims view Jesus, Moses and Abraham as prophets sent by God, the most important religious holiday to Muslims is the sacrifice of Abraham. (Yes, the same Abraham from the Bible.)
But where Schilling was correct was in his statement released shortly after being suspended, in which he stated: "Free speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences as I was so adamant on earlier this year." He added, "I'm going to be suspended for the tweet earlier today. ... I made a mistake on a few levels. And my boss didn't like it. No one to blame but myself. Time to move on."
As Schilling noted, you can say whatever you want. But (and this is a big "but") that doesn't mean you're immune from public criticism or even losing your job for making statements that people deem hateful, racist, etc.
I'm sure some will cry out, while looking to the heavens: "What about his First Amendment rights?!" Well, for those who love to cite the U.S. Constitution without having any clue about what it says, let me help you out. The First Amendment provides
, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech." The operative word there being Congress.
But your boss can make any rule he or she wants about your freedom of speech. If they no longer want to be associated with you after you make hateful comments about blacks, Jews, gays, etc., they have that right. You see, in our nation we have "employment at will
." (Except for Montana.) Bottom line that means except for a few exceptions protected by law (i.e., race, religion, etc.) your boss can fire you for any reason. Let me repeat that: Any reason!
In this case, Schilling made a comment about Muslims that the Disney-owned ESPN did not want to be associated with. Consequently, the company issued a statement within hours of Schilling's tweet that read in part: "Curt's tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company's perspective." Adding, "We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration."
I cannot commend ESPN enough for making it unequivocally clear with this swift response that it will not tolerate anti-Muslim bigotry. It didn't wait for protests or a social media campaign to prod it to do the right thing.
That's not surprising given that ESPN is truly a company that prides itself on embracing diversity.
The company's website even boasts the recent diversity awards it has received, such as "Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality," "National Association of Hispanic Journalists Media Award Winner," and "Women in Cable Telecommunications Signature Spirit Accolade Winner."
Sure some will now pat Schilling on the back for taking