The following letter was faxed today by Catholic League president William Donohue to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig:

“On February 17, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued a news release criticizing Ted Turner for his anti-Catholic remarks. The next day Mr. Turner sent to us an apology, which we accepted.

“This issue, however, has now taken a new course, one which involves professional baseball. In 1993, Cincinnati Redlegs owner Marge Schott received a one-year suspension and a $25,000 fine for her bigoted remarks against blacks and Jews; she was also required to attend sensitivity training workshops. This raises serious questions regarding the proper response to Mr. Turner.

“One of the reasons why Marge Schott was punished was the repetitive nature of her offense. The same is true of Ted Turner: he has previously attacked Christianity and his network has been implicated in releasing anti-Catholic stories.

“For the Catholic League, what professional baseball does to Mr. Turner matters gravely: if he is treated lightly, then it would contribute to the very problem that the Catholic League is established to address, namely this nation’s tolerance of anti-Catholicism. We are sick and tired of the old double standard that allows bigotry against Catholics to go unchecked while bigotry against others is penalized.

“Accordingly, the Catholic League demands that professional baseball suspend Ted Turner for one year. Because of our opposition to mind control exercises, we oppose mandatory sensitivity training. And the idea of fining a billionaire $25,000 strikes us as ludicrous, though it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea if Mr. Turner were required to give $25,000 to Catholic Charities.”

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