In my original post on Outsports about ESPN commentator Curt Schilling's grotesquely anti-transgender rant on Facebook, I had mentioned either a suspension or expulsion being an appropriate response from "the worldwide leader in sports."
"Leader." That's an interesting choice of words. ESPN has on various occasions earned that monicker when it comes to LGBT issues in sports. Despite some occasional missteps, Disney's sports arm is actually very good on LGBT issues.
Now is ESPN's chance to lead on Schilling. Fire Curt Schilling. Given the current atmosphere on trans issues in America, there is no other way out of this mess.
There are various reasons ESPN should cut ties with Schilling entirely (not the least of which is his long-standing refusal to respect people who are not cisgender white men).
Here are four trans-specific reasons ESPN should show this person the door.
The cover-up is worse than the crime
Schilling might have been able to stave off calls for his ouster from ESPN. A follow-up message from him after Outsports highlighted his nasty, mean-spirited transphobic message could have included regret, an apology and a promise to better understand the trans community. Instead, in addition to denying he posted what Outsports screen-captured from his Facebook page, in the hours after we highlighted his hate, he posted these bizarre deflections of accountability, even making the factually incorrect claim that he didn't post the grotesque anti-trans post on Facebook:
@rpmcq57 @espn @outsports really? That's not even a post I made you dinkus.— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) April 19, 2016
@Isaac_Farmer don't care and you are the opposite of right. But keep trying to be offended by anything someone can make up— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) April 19, 2016
Just admit it and move on? Nope. As Schilling said in his blog post, "If you get offended by ANYTHING in this post, that's your fault, all yours."
Schilling doesn't want a second chance
People are so willing to offer others the opportunity to make amends. All it takes is an apology that rings moderately true and some kind of outreach to learn more. Sadly, like Tony Dungy, Schilling shows no willingness to do that and simply lashes out at those who don't let him off the hook for his rabidly mean-spirited public commentary.
This is the absolute worst time to make transphobic comments
The trans community has been under fire from the sports world and municipalities for much of the last six months as the City of Houston and the State of North Carolina have both taken aim at trans people and open fired, stripping them of equal access to pubic accommodations and much, much worse.
To make a vile statement like Schilling posted on Facebook, and to double-down with a comment that drove home the message, proves he's not just tone-deaf, but he's actively antagonistic to the most susceptible community in America.
Suicide rates for trans people are through the roof
No one -- not gays, blacks, women -- can understand what it is like to grow up trans in the United States of America. No demographic group is met with less understanding than trans people. Consequently, 41% of trans people try to kill themselves at some point in their lives. KILL THEMSELVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's almost 10 times the national average of people who try to COMMIT SUICIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You couldn't pick a more vulnerable population against whom to spew nastiness, hate and misunderstanding.
Lastly, I'll add this "bonus" reason
Christina Kahrl is a baseball editor for ESPN. She also happens to be transgender. What the hell could ESPN possibly to say to Kahrl that would not look like Twilight-Zone pandering to Schilling and the entire movement that has risen up to oppose Kahrl's equality? There is nothing.
Now, ESPN must choose.