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The “Character Clause” Should Not Keep Curt Schilling From The HOF

Curt Schilling’s off the field history, while controversial, should not disqualify him from the MLB Hall of Fame. 

Some of his social media posts are easier to defend than others. Such as when he commented on this shirt. We can argue all day if that shirt is funny. We can even argue if Schilling should comment on posts such as these. What is not up for debate is if Curt Schilling actually wants to lynch journalists. He does not. 

Now, Schilling has published images that have offended and irritated many people. He has also been an outspoken supporter of President Trump, which definitely angers a percentage of the population. Thinking Curt Schilling is abrasive or annoying is one thing. But not voting him into the Hall of Fame because of his controversial comments and social media posts? That seems extreme. 

Many writers have pointed to Schilling’s off the field behavior as a reason to not vote him into the HOF. The Baseball Writers Association of America, or BBWAA, has 9 main rules for Hall of Fame voting. Their 5th rule describes the voting stipulations. 

“Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played,” reads rule 5. 

The aspect that writers who have not voted for Schilling often point to is “character”. Well, one very simple way to first judge character is see if the person has committed any crimes. Curt Schilling has never been arrested. 

Curt Schilling has also never been linked to steroid use. So he passes the integrity and sportsmanship boxes, as well as boosts his character value.

Another more murky matter in regards to character could be how good of a person someone is. There are tons of ways to prove if someone is a good person or not. One way is to see if they give back to their community through a charity or volunteering. Schilling has strong ties to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the ongoing fight against ALS

Giving players, retired and active, the chance to speak their mind is an important aspect of sports. Simply saying outlandish remarks should not bar you from ceremonies. Schilling has often had the charge of racism thrown his way. I could see how comments he has made could agitate some people. However, his comments have not been racist. 

I am all for a HOF character clause. I understand where baseball is coming from. I think Hall of Fames should focus on criminal charges as character clauses and not look so much into morality. Certain acts; murder, domestic abuse, sex crimes, etc. seem like a good place to start. 

Some people find Curt Schilling unlikable, mean spirited, arrogant. However, these are not the attributes that should come up under the character clause. We can run down the list of the greatest baseball players, and other athletes, throughout history. We will find degenerates, womanizers, alcoholics, drug users, jerks, hot heads, and many, many more negative qualities. We are going to draw the line at outlandish social media posts? 

Curt Schilling belongs in the hall of fame. The writers have voted for worse people in the past and will vote for worse people in the future.

If you are disgusted by Curt Schilling and do not want to honor him, stay off of his Twitter feed and look away when he eventually gives his HOF acceptance speech.

Story by Chad Jones

Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones

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