Curt Schilling might be a baseball Hall of Famer based on his contributions on the field, but what he’s done off the field could keep him out of Cooperstown. The Breitbart radio personality is under fire after an interview with a controversial congressional candidate during a now-deleted podcast.
Schilling had Paul Nehlen on his radio show, Whatever it Takes, on Dec. 18. Nehlen has ties to white supremacy. Former White House advisor Steve Bannon recently cut ties with Nehlen after the latter appeared on a white nationalist podcast. Breitbart has also tried to distance itself from Nehlen, who used to write for the site.
Breitbart claimed it had not covered Nehlen in months, and deleted Schilling’s podcast in an attempt to cover their tracks. Nehlen’s has shown ties to white supremacists for months, according to Think Progress.
The interview occurred weeks after Nehlen began regularly using the phrase “It’s OK to be white,” which has been adopted as a motto of white supremacists, including former KKK grand wizard David Duke.
Nehlen’s embrace of the white nationalist movement began much earlier. For at least six months, he has promoted his candidacy on Gab, a social media network that caters to white nationalists. Its app was was banned by Google and Apple for hate speech. In a video published five months ago, Nehlen can be seen displaying a hand gesture popular with white nationalists. On his hand, he has written “Gab Fam.”
Think Progress also obtained audio of the deleted podcast, in which Schilling repeatedly endorses and agrees with Nehlen’s opinions.
Schilling’s character has come into question in recent years, especially during Hall of Fame season. The former pitcher has a solid case for the Hall based on stats, but some can’t look past his extreme political opinions. He’s become a prime candidate for voters to enact the character clause.
Most voters seem hesitant to do that. Last year, Schilling received 45 percent of the Hall of Fame vote. According to Ryan Thibodaux’s excellent Hall tracker, Schilling’s percentage is up to 67 percent after 132 ballots. That would still keep him out of the Hall, as candidates need 75 percent of the vote, but Schilling is trending toward making it in the next few years.
Hall of Fame ballots have already been turned in for the 2018 class, so Schilling’s recent podcast incident will not be reflected in his numbers. Given that he appears to be gaining steam after last year, it’s unclear whether this will lead to drastic changes if he remains on the ballot for 2019.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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