SBD/Issue 163/Franchises

Johnson's, Moreno's Ownerships Will Change Sports Landscape

Charlotte NBA expansion franchise Owner Robert Johnson appeared on CNN's "The Novak Zone" Saturday to discuss becoming the first African-American majority owner in pro sports and said, "Is it going to be a big change? Not really, because the fact that ... That I had the money to buy the franchise was necessary. This was not a minority gift. This was a business acquisition that I made out of money I had. But I do believe, though, that the cost of sports involvement so much with minority players on the field, ... you're going to see more diversity in the front office of the NBA, all of the leagues." Johnson, on his efforts with Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder to bring MLB to DC: "I'm taking more of the lead on that. Dan is supportive, but it's really my lead on it. The issue for me for baseball is, (one), the city must put up the money for the stadium. This is what happened in Charlotte. ... DC must come up with the money for the stadium, and they can either do that by building a new stadium or by completely refurbishing RFK (Stadium), which I think would be cheaper. The second is baseball must sell the [Expos] based on its current value or some portion of the team at its current value, not on what would be the perceived new value if it were in a brand-new stadium" ("The Novak Zone," CNN, 5/17).

MR. MORENO: In Seattle, Larry Stone wrote new Angels Owner Arturo Moreno's "ascension is viewed as a welcome symbol of progress and success for Latinos." Mariners Spanish-language announcer Amaury Pi-Gonzalez said, "With a new Latino owner of a [MLB] team, our profile grows ever larger." Stone added, "Baseball has professed to be committed to the advancement of minorities in positions of power. But, despite the directives from commissioner Bud Selig, progress at the highest levels has been slow" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/18).

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