Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling took to the airwaves Wednesday — WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” show — to defend himself after a Facebook post viewed as offensive by some set off a firestorm on social media.
“I was kind of blindsided by this one,” the ESPN analyst told the hosts of the reaction to the Facebook image, which depicted a scantily clad heavy-set man along with the caption: “LET HIM IN! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to DIE!!!”
The post, which Schilling said was only shared with his Facebook friends and not made public, was apparently a reaction to a North Carolina law requiring that people use public bathrooms that match their sex at birth.
Below the post, Schilling left a comment: “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.”
Schilling said he doesn’t have any problems with people who are transgender, citing his former video game company.
“At 38 Studios I had people working for me that were transgender,” he said.
But he told the hosts he stands by his opinion.
“I stated a fact. Men’s bathrooms were designed for people that stand up [to use the bathroom] and women’s weren’t,” he said.
Schilling, a six-time MLB All Star and three-time World Series champ, has many supporters, among them members of his family. His son, Grant, came to his father’s defense.
“Ladies and Gentleman, today it’s come to my attention my father Curt Schilling has been slandered as a ‘transphobic bigot.’ And while I will say he’s not the most well informed in the modern LGBT+ culture, i can assure you he’s made great strides to understand people today,” his son wrote on Facebook.
“If he were a bigot he wouldn’t have allowed my Trans friends to stay over, he’s respected pronouns and name changes — never once have I heard him say something to me that I thought he should keep quiet about. . . . For the people trying to portray my father as a transphobic bigot you aren’t helping the community at all by making enemies. If you were really a part of our community — rather than try and start lies you’d educate or at least try and get him to understand. He may say some stupid things but in this instance he’s said nothing. Leave him be.”
Schilling’s wife, Shonda, also had a message for the media and others who might be condemning her husband.
“When you take a single private facebook post that belonged to my husband and turn it into a sensationalized headline that is not true and could possible cost him his job I am pissed,” she wrote on Facebook. “DON’T EVER accuse anyone in this Schilling home of having issues or a phobia about trans people. My 16 year old son is a great advocate of all sexual orientation and the gender spectrum. He has been educating us way before Caitlin Jenner ever hit the newsstands. He has several friends who are trans and who have been in and out of our home and even stayed with us. We treat no one differently. . . . Curt Schilling is probably more educated and has met more trans people then most of the sports writers spreading this
non sense. If you want a real story talk to these kids about how hard it is to get family, friends and society to accept them. This house is and will always be the one place that everyone is accepted and feel loved.”
Christina Prignano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter@cprignano.