Did Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott make the disgraceful racist comments that she has been accused of? If she did not, she has done a poor job of refuting these serious charges. If she did, baseball's leadership should move swiftly to impose severe punishment. And Schott owes the world a full and proper apology.
Schott's allegedly racist statements were cited in a deposition filed in a former Reds employee's wrongful firing and racial discrimination lawsuit, since dropped. The deposition charged that she made racist references to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and African-Americans in general, plus anti-Semitic comments.
In her curious and inadequate public statement last week, Schott apologized, sort of, for comments that she neither admitted nor denied making. The appropriate official response--one that would be in the best interest of baseball--would be a swift investigation followed, if necessary, by a suspension or large fine.
Alas, that isn't likely to happen anytime soon because of the absence of a powerful and independent commissioner. The previous commissioner was Fay Vincent, a strong figure who had removed George Steinbrenner after the recalcitrant New York Yankees owner improperly investigated a player. Under pressure from club owners, Vincent reluctantly resigned in September, in part because of a disagreement stemming from an ill-fated plan to realign the National League. The executive council now running baseball should act quickly to appoint a new commissioner--and a strong, capable one, too, not some doormat. This latest controversy--which is expected to be brought up by the council when it meets Dec. 7--could, if allowed to drag on, add another stain to a game that is suffering from image problems and other troubles.