A lifelong Reds fan, Marge Schott was one of the first women to own a major league baseball team, though she is better remembered for her controversial remarks about Jews, African-Americans, and homosexuals, among others. After becoming a general partner of the National League’s Cincinnati Reds in the 1980s, Schott was initially lauded for maintaining rock-bottom ticket and concession prices at the stadium. However, her fan-friendly policies were soon overshadowed by her inflammatory personal politics. In 1992, she reportedly referred to several Reds players by using the n-word, and a lawsuit alleged that she had a policy of refusing to hire African-Americans. Though Schott was cleared of wrongdoing in the suit, the accusations buttressed her growing reputation as a racist. She then told the Sports Illustrated that “Hitler was good in the beginning, but he went too far.”
After a subsequent investigation, Major League Baseball suspended her for the duration of the ’93 season. The following year, she was quoted using the gay slur “fruits.” By 1996, fans and baseball officials alike had reached the end of their rope with Schott. Her insensitive comments about the on-field death of an umpire on Opening Day were followed several months later by a reiteration of her pro-Hitler statements, and MLB again banned her from theteam’s day-to-day operations, effective through the ’98 season. In 1999, Schott sold her controlling interest in the Reds. She died in 2004 at age 75, her legacy as a supporter of numerous charitable causes tempered by a lifetime of offensive assertions.
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