Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling on Saturday argued he was fired by ESPN "for being a conservative," whereas host Jemele Hill is being supported for despite sharing controversial "personal opinions."
The fiery exchange with CNN host Michael Smerconish happened amid the controversy over ESPN host Jemele Hill's comments calling President Trump a "white supremacist."
The White House has called for Hill to be fired over the statement, and some conservatives are asking why she retains her job despite the network firing previous employees, including Schilling, for controversial statements.
Schilling was suspended multiple times for sharing controversial political content and eventually fired from ESPN after posting a statement opposing transgender individuals from using bathrooms that do not match their birth gender.
"I wasn't fired for speaking my mind, I was fired for being a conservative," he claimed by phone on air.
The MLB player defended Hill's ability to speak her mind and ESPN's right not to fire her, but said that "she has no place in any platform that represents sports."
Smerconish then argued with Schilling over why he was fired from ESPN. Smerconish called comments Schilling shared on social media regarding transgender bathroom policies a "cheap shot."
“I get it, you guys work on getting ratings, you need to be bombastic, and you need to make assumptions for the viewers because you guys operate on the notion that we’re too stupid to speak for ourselves,” Schilling continued. “The fact of the matters is, my comment was around the fact I don’t need my government to tell me where to pee.”
Schilling also criticized CNN, which he said "has been at the vanguard from everything from the [Steele] fake Russia dossier, to calling Trump a white supremacist time after time, anchor after anchor with no validation, no support for the comments."
Smerconish called Schilling's comments about CNN and the media unsubstantiated, and blasted him for generalizing about the whole network's programming and its hosts.
"You were pompous when you were in Philly, and you're pompous today. Because you come on my program and make a number of wild assertions none with specificity relative to me and my program," Smerconish fired back, referring to Schilling's time with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The host ended the segment by saying that he hoped networks would seek consistency in responding to employees who choose to share controversial political views while affiliated with a media company.