Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer, and will be a Hall of Famer next year. I've accepted that. His career totals more than merit the honor, and the hateful minority is correct that the Hall's nondescript "character clause" has never before kept someone outside its hallowed halls based on their political views.
However, that's the most important distinction about Curt Schilling.
This is not a discussion of bias against conservative thought. If your stated goal was to remove the conservatives from the Baseball Hall of Fame, you'd likely whittle down membership to a select few. We're not relitigating whether Big Ed Delahanty voted for McKinley or William Jennings Bryan. Schilling has transcended conservatism with his words, actions, and repeated refusal to admit that it is he who crossed the line.
Once again, there's a chasm between advocating for differing viewpoints, and promoting the killing of journalists, as Schilling did when he posted a "Rope, Tree, Journalist: Some Assembly Required" t-shirt, with an enthusiastic caption befitting of a dystopian Buzzfeed.
Yass, so much "Wow!" here, indeed. Epic Bacon T-Shirt.
An interesting strategy for currying favor with the Hall's voting body, all journalists.
Or, of course, there was the moment that served as his final fling at ESPN -- his sharing of a grotesque meme that distorted the endlessly gag-worthy "Bathroom Bill" debate into the theater of the deranged.
Last time I checked the Constitution, there's still no "freedom of hate speech" protection. Your employer still has every right to fire you for dehumanizing those who walk this earth alongside you.
It's likely that, given access to memes, think tanks, and a 24/7 method of direct communication with the American people, Schilling would not have been the first baseball great to unmask himself in this manner. But, when a world-class athlete uses his platform to endorse and incite violence, fuel a fervor surrounding "disgusting" otherness, and do precious little other than espouse these views, it's worth taking into consideration. To most, Schilling is barely a baseball player, at this point. Baseball is simply how you found out he existed.
The same people who bleat endlessly about removing the politics from sports will gleefully share the post every time Schilling uses a disfigured dwarf to represent a member of the trans community.
None of these horrifying acts disqualify Schilling, the baseball player, from being a Hall of Fame talent. They've simply made those among us who value empathy, safety, and non-violence want to delay his inevitable election as long as possible.
Next year will be the year Schilling ascends the throne and is rewarded with a weekend in the sun in baseball heaven. For all of our sakes, let's hope he doesn't go in alone, basking in his own juices for one eternal weekend, unchallenged and unchanged.
That he does not deserve.