Reckoning: Curt Schilling Lost More Than Money Yesterday
In one of those weird cosmic coincidences (“There are no coincidences, only connections.” Thomas Merton), Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios laid off all employees yesterday, the 469th anniversary of the death of Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer-priest for whom 38 Studios’ (apparently) budget-busting Copernicus game was named.
There’s nothing good about 400 people losing their jobs without notice, particularly when most of them work in a state with an unemployment rate north of 11%…and rising. The fact that the state of Rhode Island looks to be on the hook for millions of dollars in loan payments that 38 Studios will never cover makes it even worse.
On the other hand, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for self-described “small government conservative” Curt Schilling. It’s bad enough that he didn’t tell RI Gov. Lincoln Chaffee that layoffs were coming. It’s far worse that he apparently didn’t tell his employees, particularly when last week he bragged on a company website about the company’s close-knit culture:
“(Question) What’s something fun or unique you can tell us about the Big Huge Games and 38 Studios culture?
(Answer) What you read and hear about the closeness of the teams? That’s all true—38 Studios is not a place to work, it’s a place to belong.”
Yep. It’s a place to belong…right up until the boss sends out an email saying you no longer “belong”, shuts down the company’s servers, and has security escort you from the building.
Because of his 2004 play-off heroics with the Red Sox, Curt Schilling still won’t have to pay for a drink in any bar in New England for the rest of his life. But because of the way he’s handled the collapse of 38 Studios, today there are lots of New Englanders who’d walk out of a bar rather than have a drink with Curt Schilling.