Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Split Decision Special 5.11.16: On Curt Schilling & Hypocrisy In Sports Media

By Jason Disantis, @JasonInCLE

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of Triple Threat CLE or the other writers of Triple Threat CLE.

Before many reading this jump at the chance to get offended let me make one thing clear, this is not a bathroom law article.  This is a hypocrisy article.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a huge fan of a certain four-letter network in sports and entertainment.  They also know that I have had strong opinions against the NFL and other sports leagues due to policies and decisions that have been made within and outside of what I believe is there jurisdiction.  Much of my disagreement with ESPN and those leagues is due to their hypocrisies in regards to their employees and social issues.

The most recent examples of those hypocrisies lie in ESPN's firing of former MLB commentator Curt Schilling.  I'm not going to spend time going over the bathroom laws that started the newest social debate.  (If you don't know then search North Carolina bathroom laws or for goodness sake watch the news every once in a while)

Schilling posted on Facebook, "A man is a man no matter what they call themselves.  I don't care what they are, who they sleep with, men's room was designed for the penis, women's not so much.  Now you need laws telling us differently?  Pathetic."

ESPN then issued this statement regarding that post: "ESPN is an inclusive company.  Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated."

What ESPN should have said is that they are an "inclusive company" so long as you agree with them.  There is nothing "inclusive" about firing someone for disagreeing with you.  Fellow ESPN colleague of Schilling and host of "The Jump" on ESPN2, Rachel Nichols, also had some choice words in regards to the North Carolina law and the NBA possibly moving the 2017 All-
Star Game out of Charlotte due to the law.

"I would strongly urge the NBA to follow through on this if this bill isn't scrapped.  Discrimination is discrimination.  It's not okay to tell someone you're not going to serve them in your restaurant because you don't like their skin color..." Nichols said.  (She also butchered the actual law itself in her rant, referencing that the law was for the entire state of North Carolina when it was only for Charlotte)

Full disclosure here: I'm not black.  Nor have I ever knowingly been a victim of real racism.  But if I was black I would be giving Ms. Nichols an absolute earful.

Comparing asking a man with a penis to use a men's bathroom to being denied a service because of your skin color is grossly absurd.  I am surprised her comments haven't gotten more backlash from the black community and victims of racism.  Maybe it hasn't gotten the attention because not many watch ESPN2 original programming.

This isn't Schilling's first punishment from ESPN though.  He was taken off of 2015 MLB coverage after he retweeted a picture comparing radical Muslims to Nazis.

And while Schilling was getting pulled from MLB coverage, ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser later that year was comparing the Tea Party to ISIS while speaking with Howard Fineman when he asked if the Tea Party was, "like ISIS trying to establish a caliphate here?!"  Unlike Schilling, Kornheiser was never disciplined for this comment.

One of the most disturbing parts of ESPN's handling of the situation is while Schilling posted his views on a Facebook page, Nichols was using the company forum to let her ideology be known and push her agenda.

Which leads into the hypocrisy of NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and his threats of pulling the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte.

"We've been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event," Silver said at the Associated Press Sports Editors' commissioner meetings.

This is pretty low, even by major sports league commissioner standards.  Using your power to hurt the economy and people of a city and state because they do not agree with your personal ideology on bathrooms is deplorable.

But here is why it's hypocritical.

Earlier this year (during Toronto's All-Star weekend ironically enough), Adam Silver spoke of expanding the NBA and plans on developing the basketball in India.

"The billion followers of the NBA on social media include many millions of our fans in India as well."  Silver also spoke of the NBA's 10-person office in Mumbai and how happy he was with their television arrangement in India and plans how they have "plans to do more."

Before the commissioner gets too excited about expanding to India he should read up on their LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) laws.  Specifically section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which states that those engaging in homosexual intercourse, "shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to a fine."  Simply put India is one of about 75 countries left in the world where being gay is a criminal offense.

So while knowing that moving an all-star game from Charlotte won't hurt his revenue stream, Silver can try to bully North Carolina into adopting his personal ideologies.  But an opportunity to add a new source of revenue and expand the NBA on a global scale is more important than the advancement of the LGBT community world-wide.

Too often those in a position of power use that power to push an agenda outside of their respective business.  If Adam Silver was as focused about his league's officiating as he was about making sure men were allowed to use the bathroom with girls then we would have a better product to watch.  ESPN should be focused on revolutionizing the way they bring sports and entertainment to its customers, not bullying their employees who don't share the same ideological views as them and the Disney corporation. 

Those who preach tolerance the loudest are always the least tolerant.  Here are just another two examples.

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