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Catholic Group Urges Turner Ban

March 9, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Major league baseball officials said Tuesday they were looking into a Catholic organization’s demands that Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner be barred from the sport for a year because he told a Polish joke and made other comments about Catholics last month.

Thomas Droleskey, head of a group called Christ or Chaos, which he said has 500 members, said he wrote to baseball Commissioner Bud Selig asking for ``immediate action″ to suspend Turner from any contact with the Braves and the sport for a year.

Baseball spokesman Richard Levin said the complaint was taken ``very seriously.″ He said he had not seen the letter, but ``we are aware of the situation. The commissioner has talked to Ted Turner and is looking into it.″

In Atlanta, Turner spokesman Phil Evans wouldn’t comment.

Turner was guest speaker at the Feb. 16 dinner of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Association, which supports abortion rights, contraception and other practices opposed by the Catholic church.

When a questioner asked what he would say on meeting Pope John Paul II, Turner extended an upraised foot toward the audience and said, ``Ever seen a Polish mine detector?″

He later said the pope should ``get with it _ welcome to the 20th century,″ and suggested the Ten Commandments’ ban on adultery should be abolished.

Turner later offered a ``heartfelt apology″ to William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Donohue accepted the apology.

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