ESPN Has No Balls

Scott Greer Contributor
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The worldwide leader in sports has a problem with free speech.

More precisely, free speech that doesn’t conform to the politically correct norm. Just ask Curt Schilling.

The MLB great and sports commentator found himself suspended this week after he tweeted out an image that compared radical Islam to Nazi Germany. (RELATED: MLB Analyst Curt Schilling Compares Muslims To Nazis On Twitter)

Schilling even issued a cringe-worthy apology for the “damage” he caused in the aftermath of his suspension.

Unfortunately, ESPN’s suspension of Schilling is not the first time an ESPN personality has suffered the consequences for making a comment that runs afoul of political correctness.

Only a few weeks ago, the sports network fired one of its top baseball personalities over a joke made about Dominicans. In a discussion over the complexity of baseball, Colin Cowherd said the game wasn’t complex because many players were from the Dominican Republic, which is apparently not known for having “world-class academic abilities.”

After trying to explain the nature of the joke, Cowherd was unceremoniously let go.

In April, reporter Britt McHenry was suspended after a tow truck company leaked a heavily-edited video of the correspondent ranting at an impound clerk. McHenry said the attendant was ugly, fat and worked at a scumbag place. Considering it was a tow truck company with a horrific “customer service” record, it’s reasonable to think the attendant wasn’t being so pleasant to Ms. McHenry and this may have been the cause for the reporter’s outburst.

Despite the evidence, several media outlets viciously attacked the young blonde as a cold-hearted witch and ESPN suspended her — even though the network should’ve awarded her a medal for spitting brutal truth at an evil tow truck company.

In 2011, the media giant publicly scolded golf analyst Paul Azinger for chiding President Obama for spending too much time on the green in a bad economy. Azinger’s employer said he was not allowed to engage in political commentary on social media and said that kind of talk should be “best left to those in that field.”

That same year the network pulled Hank Williams Jr.’s iconic “Monday Night Football” song from the program after the country legend used a Hitler reference in criticizing House Speaker John Boehner for golfing with Obama.

In 2006, ESPN fired baseball analyst Harold Reynolds over a hug that some employees thought was inappropriate. Reynolds later earned a seven-figure settlement from the termination that centered entirely around that one terrifying hug.

The most famous example of ESPN disciplining an employee was Rush Limbaugh’s 2003 termination. Limbaugh said that the media was propping up then-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb because various commentators have “been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well” in the NFL. That opinion, which even some liberals conceded was true, got him canned.

These speech offenders are joined by the ESPN hosts who were punished for criticizing NFL officials and policies. In other words, they were disciplined for expressing a view that pertained to their job.

It would be one thing if ESPN didn’t want any of its personalities to make “political” statements. However, the network operates on a double-standard when it comes to speech.

This year, ESPN exploited its ESPY awards ceremony to promote the cause of Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner’s transexuality certainly was a political issue and fiercely divided people. In spite of those recriminations, ESPN presented the person formerly known as Bruce the ESPY courage award for calling himself a woman.

Back in 2011, retired basketball player and network analyst Jalen Rose said Duke University recruited “uncle toms” for its basketball team in an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary. Rose faced no repercussions for his racially derogatory remark.

Up until July, arch-liberal talking head Keith Olbermann hosted a show on ESPN, on which he continued to expound his left-wing political views on a network dedicated to sports. Olbermann was let go last month because he refused to move, not because his points offended some of the audience. Then again, considering how the sports outlet covers topics like the name Washington Redskins and the Ferguson unrest, maybe left-wing views are the norm for the network.

Besides employing well-known, bloviating progressives, ESPN also employs people allegedly involved in murders. Former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis one of the sports giants premier football analysts. That’s in spite of the fact that he beat a murder charge back in the early 2000s by testifying against his friends who reportedly did more of the stabbing.

While the network may cover a lot of balls, it seems to lack any when it comes to journalism. Journalists should be allowed to speak their minds within reasonable limits. ESPN, however, sets unreasonable limits by forcing its workers to kowtow to political correctness.

The multimedia empire always — always — takes the left-wing position on issues. And ESPN’s thoroughly liberal coverage is a result of its desire to avoid offending the right people.

Saying Obama golfs too much is out of line, but saying the Redskins names is akin to slavery is a-ok. Hugging a co-worker is unacceptable, but possibly helping your buddy murder someone is just a mistake from the past. Most importantly, you can’t say radical Islam is bad, but you can claim Caitlyn Jenner is the most courageous person in America.

With the rise of alternative media, people are now able to get their news from a whole range of other places that aren’t a four-letter defunct acronym. ESPN’s insufferable political correctness should convince viewers to look elsewhere for sports coverage.

Because who wants to watch a network that features tackles and hits all day, yet is terrified of conservative tweets?

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