On February 16, Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner made anti-Catholic and anti-Polish remarks before the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association in Washington, D.C. He ridiculed the Ten Commandments (they’re “a little out of date”; “If you’re only going to have 10 rules, I don’t know if prohibiting adultery should be one of them”) and he mocked the Pope (when asked to comment on the Pope, Turner lifted his leg and said, “Ever seen a Polish mine detector?”; he also said the Pope should “get with it. Welcome to the 20th century”).
The Catholic League accepted Turner’s apology the next day, but that did not end the controversy. In 1993, Cincinnati Redlegs owner Marge Schott was suspended for making bigoted comments, and the league wants Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to give the same sanction to Turner—a one year suspension.
Catholic League president William Donohue outlined the league’s latest strategy:
“In the history of baseball, only four owners have ever been suspended and Ted Turner is one of them. In 1977, he was suspended for tampering with a soon-to-be free agent, Gary Matthews. The last owner to be suspended was Marge Schott; she was suspended for one year for making racial and ethnic slurs. Justice demands, therefore, that Turner be suspended for one year. After all, he is a repeat offender and is guilty of the same offense as Schott.
“In the April edition of Catalyst, the monthly journal of the Catholic League, we are calling on all members to write to Bud Selig demanding equal justice for the recidivist Turner. It has been six weeks since Turner’s offense was committed and the case still lingers. With the baseball season ready to begin on April 4, it is time for Selig to make public the fruits of his investigation and announce the sanctions he thinks are appropriate.”