LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Prominent Los Angeles religious leaders are offering their support to embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
Leaders were meeting Friday for 9 a.m. news conference at First AME Church of Los Angeles. The group plans to call on Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball, to act responsibly on matters concerning the Dodgers.
Leaders said that McCourt reached out to them. As a result, a 20 page letter was sent to Selig by 20 local religious figures from African American churches asking him to approve the $3 billion deal between McCourt and Fox.
The letter was sent to Selig June 3.
“As religious leaders in the Los Angeles community and lifelong fans of the game of baseball, we are writing to express our sincere displeasure with the manner in which the Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt have been treated by Major League Baseball. In particular, we are deeply troubled by the rancor, media attacks, and lack of equity that has been afforded the Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt as they seek provide financial stability to one of baseball’s most notable franchises … At a minimum, the estimated $3-billion television deal with Fox should improve the financial viability of the franchise. …”
“It is out sincere hope that you will exercise your judgment wisely and explore all options and remedies prior to making a determination on the future of the Los Angeles Dodgers including the state of their ownership and any revenue gathering plans.”
The letter was signed by 20 religious leaders, including Rev. Dr. John J. Hunter, senior minister of the First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles; Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church; Pastor Marvin Davis, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Los Angeles and Southern California, New Bethel Baptist Church; and Pastor John E. Cager III, president of the Southern California Ministerial Alliance, A.M.E. Church, Second A.M.E. Church Los Angeles.
On Friday afternoon, the Dodgers released a statement saying, “Mr. McCourt is very appreciative of the incredible support the clergy leaders have offered. Mr. McCourt has developed strong ties with diverse constituencies throughout Los Angeles since he purchased the Dodgers in 2004.”
Major League Baseball has not commented on the letter.