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Known in recent years for his outspoken conservative views on social media, Schilling told the Arizona Republic earlier this week that he was “absolutely considering” a challenge of incumbent Democrats in Arizona. Within hours, Trump praised Schilling’s political aspirations on social media, referring to him as “a great pitcher and patriot.”
In a brief conversation with FOX Business, Schilling confirmed that he is mulling a political career, but said his plans have yet to move beyond preliminary discussions on a possible bid.
“It’s something we’re talking about, but it hasn’t gotten past that stage yet,” Schilling said. He declined further comment.
Schilling, who currently lives in Massachusetts, told the Arizona newspaper that he is considering a Congress bid because Arizona “is not the state I grew up in,” adding that “making Arizona citizens of every race, religion and sexual orientation 2nd class citizens to illegal immigrants is about as anti-American as it gets.” He also discussed his political aspirations during an appearance on Armed American Radio last Sunday, noting that it was “something my wife and I have talked about.”
Schilling reached national fame during a lengthy career as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and several other teams. A three-time World Series champion and six-time All-Star selection, he earned more than $114 million during 19 seasons in the league.
In retirement, Schilling has faced scrutiny over his business dealings and social media activity. He launched a video game production company, 38 Studios, which received a $75 million grant from the state of Rhode Island, but went bankrupt after releasing just one game.
Rhode Island sued 38 Studios and eventually recouped some of the grant money in a settlement, the Associated Press reported. Schilling wrote on Twitter that he lost more than $50 million of his own money in the failed venture.
Schilling worked as an analyst for ESPN from 2010 until 2016, when he was fired after facing intense criticism for a Facebook post related to a North Carolina law that required transgender people to use bathrooms that corresponded with their gender at birth. His firing occurred after an earlier suspension for posts that were deemed Islamophobic.
Schilling backed former President George W. Bush during his run for office in the 2000s and has emerged as prominent supporter of President Trump in recent years.
The president has returned the love, tweeting his support for the pitcher earlier this year that Schilling, “deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”