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Curt Schilling: ESPN has gone 'way over the edge on the left' politically

Sporting News logo Sporting News 2/17/2017 Michael McCarthy

Curt Schilling © (Getty Images) Curt Schilling Curt Schilling has been gone from ESPN for 10 months. But the former MLB star is still throwing heaters at his former employer — especially as he ponders a run for the U.S. Senate against Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).

ESPN has gone "way over on the edge on the left" politically, Schilling said during an interview with conservative radio host Chris Stigall of Talk Radio 1210 WPHT in Philadelphia.

ESPN's paean to departing U.S. President Barack Obama gave him "acid reflux." The network's coverage of the death of Cuba's Fidel Castro, a former pitcher who made sports a huge priority in his poverty-stricken country, "sickened" him to no end, he said.

MORE: Patriotism, politics and sports

Schilling said the network's liberal bent has only gotten worse since he was dumped last year for commenting about North Carolina's transgender bathroom law,he said. Schilling would prefer ESPN come clean about its own political biases.

"I don't care that they do it. What I care about is that they lie about it. ESPN fires me for apparently being intolerant because I was actually commenting around the fact men should use the men’s room and women should use the women’s room. Apparently, that was ... the straw that broke the camel’s back. Then they come out and act as if they are a tolerant group — and they’ve gone full mental since then. I mean they’ve gone way over the edge on the left, having a tribute to Obama after his last day in office, that gave me acid reflux. … And them doing a special on Fidel Castro, which sickened to me to no end. ("Baseball Tonight's") Eduardo Perez is on that team at ESPN and he’s a Cuban. He basically acknowledged the fact that Castro was Cuba’s version of Hitler. This wasn’t a compassionate man. ...This was a horrible human being."

Despite the protests against Republican president Donald Trump by high-profile athletes such as LeBron James, Steph Curry and various members of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Schilling estimated that 80 percent to 85 percent of pro athletes are actually conservative politically. They just hide it because they don't want to get attacked on social media.

“Look around professional sports and look at how many athletes there are and look at how many have come out and spoke out in favor of Clinton or in favor of liberals. They are because it’s mainstream in the public eye to do that right now. All the rest are, for the most part, are conservative because you don’t come out and speak about stuff like that…It’s work ethic,” Schilling said. “To get where they go, to get where a professional athlete gets, you have to work your a** off your entire life. You understand and appreciate an incredibly hard day’s work that, hopefully, will pay off in the future.”

He's "deadly serious" about a possible Senatorial run against Warren, one of new President Donald Trump's fiercest congressional critics. He'll have to discuss with his family. And change his registration to Republican from Independent if he wants to challenge Warren, who's "accomplished absolutely nothing" in office.

"Every time she opens her mouth, she says something more stupid than she said the day before."

The debate over ESPN's political leanings — and whether it punishes political conservatives such as Schilling — has become a hot-button issue in recent years.

Schilling now has his own radio program for Bretibart called "Whatever it Takes."

Trump's favorite conservative website has been pounding ESPN's over its alleged bias. "Report: ESPN Losing 10,000 Subscribers a Day Over Its Political Left Turn," read the headline on one Breitbart story published this week.

MORE: Curt Schilling's 'character' was award-winning when he was a player

ESPN's rivals at Fox Sports have also been taunting ESPN over the subscribers losses that have reduced its footprint to 88 million homes from a former high of 100 million. Fox Sports radio host Clay Travis wrote ESPN has morphed into a left-wing network he calls "MESPN." He pointed to ESPN giving the Arthur Ashe Courage award to Caitlyn Jenner at the 2015 ESPYs Awards.

And that was the jumping off point, the moment ESPN ceased to be about sports and became a mouthpiece of the farthest left reaches of the Democratic party. I'm all for political discussion, but when you ally yourself with one political party and your business ostensibly is to talk about sports, you lose viewers who see what you're doing. That's why I call ESPN MSESPN now, the network is desperate to prop up its ratings and has decided that becoming a shill for the left wing in the country is its best option. Sadly, this is just going to lose more viewers.

In an interview with Sporting News, Jason Whitlock, co-host of FS1's "Speak for Yourself," said ESPN is trying to please "hyper left-wing" social media forces.

Whitlock calls his former network "EPCN." He think ESPN's politically correct coverage of race, sports and social issues is costing it viewers. Particularly in red states that voted for Trump, he said.

"Sports culture is not PC or far left. There are no safe spaces in the field of competition," he wrote. "Ithink we can differentiate ourselves from EPCN by discussing sports in a way that is authentic to sports culture and sports fans. You can be authentic without being distasteful or disrespectful. Sports culture has long been patriotic, tolerant of diverse backgrounds and perspective and celebratory of meritocracy."

Columnist Bryan Curtis of Bill Simmons' The Ringer just wrote a fascinating piece about how he believes thesports media has moved to the left ofits readership. Wrote Curtis:

In the age of liberal sports writing, the writers are now far more liberal than the readers. “Absolutely I think we’re to the left of most sports fans,” said Craig Calcaterra, who writes for HardballTalk. “It’s folly for any of us to think we’re speaking for the common fan.”

But to say ESPN has a double-standard with conservatives is questionable also.

The network re-signed conservative Mike Ditka to a new contract, for example.

Da Coach is so far to the right he nearly comes back to the left.

Ditka has publicly called Obama the "worst president ever."

During an interview with WABC's "Bernie and Sid" radio show, Ditka said he has no use for journalist "a—holes" hounding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady over his friendship with Trump.

Surprise: Da Coach is a big Trump supporter.

“I like Donald Trump. I think he’s the best man, the best qualified person. I think he'll do a great job for Americans. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t think that. But we’ll have to wait and see. Let him do his job first," Ditka said. "If he can possibly screw it up nearly half as much as Obama, I’ll be surprised."

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