Baseball To Investigate Alleged Slurs By Reds Owner
NEW YORK (AP) _ New allegations of racial slurs surfaced today against Marge Schott, owner of the Cincinnati Reds, who faces an investigation by a committee appointed by baseball’s executive council.
USA Today reported today that a man sitting next to Schott on an airplane heard her use racial slurs referring to black slugger Dave Parker, and said a former Reds employee claimed Schott had disparaged Jews.
Joe Pfaffl, president of a management consulting firm, told USA Today that Schott’s remarks about Parker occurred during a flight to Cincinnati in December 1987, when Schott was returning from an owners’ meeting. Parker was traded from Cincinnati to Oakland on Dec. 8, 1987.
″She was bragging that she’d just traded that ’goddamned nigger,‴ Pfaffl told the newspaper. ″She said, ’We got rid of that trouble-making nigger.‴
Pfaffl alleged Schott used the slur four to five times during the flight and said she at least once referred to Parker as a ″million-dollar nigger.″ In a deposition released last month, Schott denied using that phrase.
Keith Stichtenoth, a former employee in the Reds ticket office, told the newspaper he heard Schott refer to ″Jew bastards.″
Baseball’s 11-member executive council met for about one hour in a telephone conference call Tuesday and decided to appoint the committee ″to investigate the alleged racial and ethnic remarks attributed″ to Schott.
The Cincinnati owner again denied some of the allegations against her, which surfaced three weeks ago in court depositions, and said she was prepared to fight the charges. But she also left open the possibility she would sell the team.
″I never want to be someplace if I’m not wanted,″ she said.
Schott, 64, took over management of her husband’s car dealership, trucking company and other businesses after he died in 1968. She bought into the Reds in 1981 as a limited partner and took charge three years later when all the men in the inner circle backed away from the job.
The new committee includes American League president Bobby Brown, National League president Bill White, California Angels executive vice president Jackie Autry and Pittsburgh Pirates director Douglas Danforth.
The committee is to report its findings to the executive council, which assumed the power of the commissioner when Fay Vincent resigned Sept. 7. It was unclear when its report would be made.
Owners said the committee will read depositions and probably would interview Schott and Sharon Jones, a former Oakland Athletics employee who has accused the owner of saying, ″I’d rather have a trained monkey working for me than a nigger.″
Schott also has been accused of a poor record on minority hiring, of making derogatory remarks about Jews and Asians, and of being insensitive by keeping a swastika arm band at home.
″There’s a lot of people who have things from the second World War and from the Confederate War, but I’ve never thought of (it as) offensive,″ she said in an interview Tuesday with ESPN. ″I don’t know the big deal about it.″
Civil rights leaders have called for her ouster. The executive council can suspend her or fine her up to $250,000.