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ESPN Benches Curt Schilling for Duration of Baseball Season

ESPN will keep baseball analyst Curt Schilling off the network for the duration of the current Major League Baseball season, the Walt Disney-owned outlet said Thursday, an extension of a punishment meted out after the broadcaster sent out a dispatch on Twitter in August comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis.

ESPN decided to prolong Schilling’s sit-down in the wake of an emailed statement he sent to sports-news site Awful Announcing offering more thoughts about the tweet he made, then deleted. The two parties had additional exchanges, and ESPN seemed less than pleased.

“At all times during the course of their engagement with us, our commentators are directly linked to ESPN and are the face of our brand. We are a sports media company. Curt’s actions have not been consistent with his contractual obligations nor have they been professionally handled; they have obviously not reflected well on the company,” the network said in a statement.  “As a result, he will not appear on ESPN through the remainder of the regular season and our Wild Card playoff game.”

The Schilling imbroglio is the latest in a series faced by ESPN, which has over the years suspended on-air personnel ranging from Stephen A. Smith to the now-departed Keith Olbermann and Bill Simmons when they let remarks slip in various venues that created controversy. The network benefits from their outspokenness on the air, but seems hesitant to let them have similar license for activity off the field, when they opine on matters outside the boundaries of sport.

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