On February 17, Ted Turner apologized to the Catholic League for the bigoted comments he made about the pope and the Polish people. The league quickly accepted his apology but then sought his suspension from professional baseball. After all, we said, Marge Schott, the owner of the Cincinnati Redlegs, was suspended for making bigoted remarks about blacks and Jews.
The analogy between Turner and Schott, however, is not without problems. Schott was the sole owner of the Cincinnati team. It is Time Warner that owns the Atlanta Braves. While it is true that Turner is a large shareholder in Time Warner (he owns 11%), the analogy between him and Schott is not exact. Moreover, Time Warner also owns the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, yet no one has asked professional basketball to suspend Turner.
What has just been described represents the basis of a conversation between William Donohue and Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. On May 3, Selig called Donohue after the Catholic League president called his office to press the issue further. After listening to Selig’s account, Donohue said “fair is fair” and thus ended the matter.
Donohue was impressed with Selig’s forthrightness and conceded that the Schott-Turner analogy was not as tight as previously believed; he also conceded the point about the Atlanta Hawks. Selig said his investigation would continue and pledged to stay in touch until it is completed.