ESPN Explains Why It Cut Curt Schilling’s Bloody Sock from 2004 Red Sox Film

ESPN said in a statement the edit was made in order to trim the documentary's time.

Curt Schilling Photo by Tony Gutierrez / AP

Curt Schilling Photo by Tony Gutierrez / AP

Viewers who watched ESPN’s replay of the Four Days in October documentary Sunday, which chronicles the Red Sox’s historic come-from-behind win against the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, noticed a glaring omission. Perhaps the most iconic moment from the comeback, Curt Schilling’s “Bloody Sock” performance in Game 6, was missing.

The original version of the 2010 film spends several minutes on the drama, showing all of the highlights from Schilling’s legendary performance. Schilling threw seven innings of one-run ball with a surgically altered tendon in his right ankle that bled through his stitches and sock. Given ESPN’s recent dismissal of Schilling, it was difficult not to wonder whether the edit was the network’s attempt to scrub him from history. At least, that appears to be what Schilling believed Sunday night.

When asked for comment, an ESPN spokesman said the edit was made in order to trim down the time of the documentary. Four Days in October aired following a college softball game that ran past its allotted time slot.

“When a live event runs long, it’s standard procedure to shorten a taped program that follows,” said ESPN’s statement. “In this case, we needed to edit out one of the film’s four segments to account for the extra length of the softball game.”

The explanation seems sensible enough, though one has to question the optics. Cutting out one of the signature moments of Schilling’s career from a documentary less than two weeks after firing him isn’t the best look.

ESPN canned Schilling April 20 for an anti-transgender image he shared on his Facebook page. Schilling fired back at his former employers last week, saying ESPN hires some of the “biggest racists in sports commenting.”

Over the last year and a half, ESPN has drawn the ire of many Boston sports fans due to its error-ridden reporting on Deflategate. Removing Schilling’s “Bloody Sock” game from a 2004 Red Sox documentary, even if it was just an innocuous decision, is guaranteed to further stoke those flames.