Curt Schilling's Angry Tweets Aren't Illegal

Curt Schilling's barrage of online barbs targeting Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee may not plunge the Red Sox Hall of Famer into legal hot water, but experts warned the outspoken pitching ace yesterday to tone down his tweets as he tackles financial issues stemming from the failure of his 38 Studios.

The three-time World Series champion, whose now-defunct video game company was lured to Rhode Island with a guaranteed loan of $75 million, tweeted Saturday, "if the state loses money it's because the Governor (Chafee) is a dunce of epic proportions, nothing I can do about that." Schilling later called Chafee a "buffoon" and his potential re-election in 2014 "terrifying."

"It might be poor judgment, but it's not against the law," said Peter Elikann, an attorney and author, adding Schilling's tweets fall under the "fair comment" privilege. "Here in the U.S., everyone is free to express their opinions."

Earlier this month, Schilling, who lost $50 million of his own money on 38 Studios, said he "failed" the company's 400 employees after bankruptcy forced their firings and the Providence-based company's closure.

Yet Todd Van Hoosear, foun-der of Cambridge-based social media marketing agency Fresh Ground, said Schilling's name-calling wouldn't better his personal or legal situations in any way.

"There's just no way he can win," Van Hoosear said. "He just needs to shut up, take a break and step back."

Chafee called Schilling's comments "regretful" on Providence radio station WPRO-AM yesterday.

David Gerzof Richard, an Emerson College marketing professor, said Schilling's tweets reveal him to be a "rough and tumble sideline bully" and can only intensify media scrutiny of his actions.

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