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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Turner Gets a Few Things Off His Chest Too

June 20, 1997|BILL DWYRE

A few samples from Ted Turner, vice chairman of Time Warner Inc., while speaking Thursday at the Associated Press Sports Editors' national convention in St. Petersburg, Fla.:

On his archrival in the media mogul world, Rupert Murdoch, who is expected to sign a deal soon to buy the Dodgers: "Rupert doesn't own them yet. All it takes is four votes in the National League against him. And I can tell you which way one vote will go right now.

"Baseball is a family game, and Rupert owns a newspaper in Europe called the Sun, where on Page 3 they put pictures of bare-chested females, which is certainly demeaning to women. That alone makes him questionable. Larry Flynt once wanted to own a baseball team, but he was rejected for the same reason."

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Add Murdoch: "I've challenged him to a boxing match," Turner said. "It's a great idea. One 58-year-old against one 66-year-old. We'll put it on pay-per-view, charge $4.95. There'll be a million homes, maybe 2 or 3 million homes, that'll buy that. That's the lowest-priced fight anybody has ever put on. The proceeds will go to the winner's charity. Boys' and girls' clubs for me. Maybe we'll make it that the loser will have to leave the country. Murdoch is chicken. He won't do this. He can even wear headgear and I won't."

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Trivia time: Turner skippered the winning boat in the America's Cup. What was the name of his boat, whom did he defeat and what was the year?

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Looking ahead: Turner said he plans the epitaph that will go on his tombstone.

"Ten years ago, it was going to be: 'You can't interview me here.'

"Five years ago, it was going to be: 'It was bound to happen sooner or later.'

"Now, it would be: 'I have nothing more to say.' "

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Name game: Turner recently acquired an NHL expansion team for Atlanta, and he was asked what he knew about hockey.

"They wear a lot of padding and fight a lot," he said.

He also said he had decided on a name for the team.

"It'll be the Thrashers. That's because the Georgia state bird is the Brown Thrasher. There aren't all that many left in Georgia anymore, because we spray all the insects down there with pesticides and then the Brown Thrashers eat the insects and die from the pesticides. Maybe this will call attention to that.

"We almost would have an all-bird sports city then. We have the Hawks and the Falcons, and when there was all the talk about the Braves from Native American groups, I was thinking about a new name and I had arrived at the Eagles."

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Trivia answer: Turner's Courageous defeated Australia in 1977.

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And finally: Discussing his slowing down, Turner said, "Time. I need more of it. Actually, I am the biggest shareholder of Time. I own Time. And now I'm running out of it."

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