Schott suspension weighed Reds owner called to Executive Council

June 05, 1996|By SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

CINCINNATI -- Major League Baseball's Executive Council will seek to suspend controversial Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott for an indefinite period -- at least through the remainder of the 1996 season -- when it meets today in Philadelphia, sources have told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sources within baseball and the Reds organization say the suspension would be the first step toward wresting day-to-day control of the team away from baseball's only female owner. Late yesterday, Schott was summoned to Philadelphia for today's meeting, a highly unusual step.

Although Schott has been widely vilified for racist and anti-Semitic remarks, sources say her suspension will be tied to her increasingly frugal operation of the Reds' franchise.

"We have to look at where the franchise is going and the image she is portraying to the community," an ownership source said. "This is a very image-sensitive business, but legally you have to clothe this by asking, 'Is this individual fit to run this team?'

"It can't be based on what this person has said, because as reprehensible as that might be, you're getting into First Amendment issues. The question has to be, 'Is this person fit to be one of the 28 people who own major-league baseball teams?' If not, baseball has the prerogative to take action."

The executive council consists of 13 members -- five owners from each of the two leagues, the two league presidents and acting commissioner Bud Selig.

Said National League vice president Katy Feeney: "I can't confirm or deny that she will be suspended. It is true that one of the items on the agenda for the meeting is Marge Schott and the Reds."

Calls to Selig's office were not returned. Schott waved off an attempt to question her before last night's game between the San Francisco Giants and the Reds at Riverfront Stadium.

Pub Date: 6/05/96

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