Curt Schilling no longer shares his opinions for ESPN, but he still has plenty of opinions about ESPN.
One week after the network fired him as a baseball analyst, the former major league pitcher recorded an interview Wednesday in Manhattan in which he accused ESPN of bias against political conservatives — and worse.
“It was apparent to me early on that if you wanted to go off topic as a sports person you had to go off topic left, or you were going to get in trouble,” Schilling said during a one-hour guest appearance on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s “Breitbart News Patriot Forum” that is scheduled to air at 8 a.m. Thursday.
“Some of the most racist things I’ve ever heard have come out of people that are on the air at ESPN. They’re some of the biggest racists in sports commentating.”
Asked to clarify his remarks after the show, which was recorded before a live audience at SiriusXM headquarters in Manhattan, Schilling said, “The memo that was sent out more than once was about they wanted on air-talent to focus on sports. To me that means focus on sports unless you want to talk about something that is part of the liberal agenda.
“You listen to Stephen A. Smith, and Stephen A. Smith was the guy who said that Robert Griffin didn’t play quarterback for the Redskins because he’s black. No, Robert Griffin didn’t play quarterback for the Redskins because he [stunk].
“. . . Tony Kornheiser compared the Tea Party to ISIS. I don’t know any planet where those are sports topics. But I don’t care. It’s OK. I think those conversations need to happen. But as soon as you go to the flip side, the right side, there are repercussions for not talking about sports.”
ESPN declined to comment on Schilling’s remarks.
Schilling, who had worked at ESPN since 2010, was fired after sharing a Facebook post critical of those who have come out against recent laws requiring people to use restrooms corresponding to their birth gender, most prominently in North Carolina.
Schilling insisted Wednesday that he has nothing against transgender people themselves.
“My commentary around it was the functionality of men’s and women’s bathrooms,” he said on the Breitbart show.
Schilling was suspended last year for a Twitter post comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis. He said he was unfairly criticized by people who eliminated the word “extremists” from the sentiment.
Schilling smiled when he was introduced before the show as a “pitching legend and conservative hero.”
On Wednesday he said Hillary Clinton “should be in maximum security prison.” When the show’s hosts, Stephen K. Bannon and Alex Marlow, laughed at that line, he added, “I’m not joking.”
Schilling said that there were many closet Republicans at ESPN afraid to say so publicly. He said he has no problem with Democrats at the network expressing political opinions, as long as Republicans are allowed to as well.
“Why would the voicing of an opinion be risking anything?” he said during the taping. “I get it in the Middle East, where that can get you beheaded . . . The memo that went out to everybody went out to all of us the same, which is: If you are a sport person stick to sports, don’t get involved in the political arena.
“In the end for me it felt like that rule applied to me and me alone because I was conservative . . . Bigots are calling me a bigot. A bigot is someone who refuses to accept a different opinion. I will accept anyone’s opinion.”
After the show, Schilling said he and ESPN executives had had multiple conversations about his sharing political views while employed there.
“Then when you look at ESPN in the ensuing six or eight months, things went on as normal,” he said. “Dan Le Batard talking about Cuba and the things about Cuba and again, almost everybody there talking about things that didn’t have to do with sports.”
Schilling he would like to return to baseball analysis and “has been fielding offers,” but he said he could not work at a company where his opinions are restricted.
Schilling, 49, said he favors the recent New York City law that effectively banned smokeless tobacco from Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. He was diagnosed with mouth cancer in February of 2014 and returned to ESPN that September. He blames the disease on his use of smokeless tobacco.
“I’m mortified and terrified to think somebody might have started doing that because they saw me do it,” he said, adding he is one of only two out of 11 patients he initially checked into the hospital with who still are alive.