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David Brown

Martin Luther King III says Mets ownership talk is 'premature'

Big League Stew

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A television executive named Larry Meli tried to get folks excited over the weekend about the possibility of Martin Luther King III buying a piece of the New York Mets.

Problem No. 1: King said Monday that any talk of his involvement in such an ownership group is "way premature."

Problem No. 2: King, who runs the non-profit King Center in Atlanta, says he doesn't have any money.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"Whether or not Atlanta believes this or not, I am not wealthy," King said.

Fairly or not, someone who wants to own a Major League Baseball team must be judged by the contents of his or her wallet.

Actual minority ownership in Major League Baseball is rare. Arte Moreno, a Mexican-American, owns the Los Angeles Angels. Nintendo, which is based in Japan, owns the Seattle Mariners — but they're run by a white American named Howard Lincoln.

Black ownership in MLB doesn't exist at al, or at least not substantively. So, the prospect of King III being part of an ownership group in New York City — where Jackie Robinson integrated baseball 64 years ago — is appealing.

If King represented of a group of African-American owners, that would be one thing. That way, minorities would control the purse strings and be empowered to make decisions while utilizing the respective King/Jackie Robinson legacies.

But Meli's group, as it's been reported, seems pretty white — with entrepeneur Donn Clendenon Jr., son of a '69 Mets icon, presumably being an exception. It's OK if Meli's group wants to try and buy the Mets, but it's not true minority ownership simply because they want to take Martin Luther King III along for the ride.

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