University of Cincinnati Removing Name of Disgraced Reds Owner Marge Schott from Baseball Stadium

Jesse Pantuosco
June 23, 2020 - 1:41 pm

Falling in line with other organizations that have sought to distance themselves from their problematic past amid our new national climate (the Carolina Panthers removed a statue of Jerry Richardson’s likeness earlier this month), the University of Cincinnati announced plans to rename Marge Schott Stadium in wake of Schott’s troubling history of racism. This comes as the result of a petition started by Bearcats alum Jordan Ramey earlier this month.

The school’s baseball stadium was named in Schott’s honor in 2006 following a generous $2-million donation from the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation. However, many current and former players including major-league All-Star Kevin Youkilis (who starred for the Bearcats prior to joining the Red Sox as an eighth-round pick in 2001), urged the university to end its association with Schott, a controversial figure during her time as owner of the Cincinnati Reds. Schott’s well-documented anti-Semitism and frequent use of racial slurs forced MLB to intervene on multiple occasions, ultimately leading to her ouster as the team’s majority owner in 1999.

“Marge Schott's record of racism and bigotry stands at stark odds with our University's core commitment to dignity, equity and inclusion,” university president Neville Pinto expressed in a prepared statement Tuesday. “I hope this action serves as an enduring reminder that we cannot remain silent or indifferent when it comes to prejudice, hate or inequity. More than ever, our world needs us to convert our values into real and lasting action."

Per ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Cincinnati had approached Youkilis about naming its baseball field after him but the former Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees first baseman declined, citing the university’s continued ties to Schott. After being presented a petition with nearly 10,000 signatures including those of Youkilis and Phillies utility player Josh Harrison, Cincinnati’s board of trustees unanimously voted to remove Schott’s name from both the baseball stadium and a section of the school’s library. Nearby Saint Ursula Academy made similar overtures to distance itself from Schott earlier this month, removing the disgraced owner’s name from the school’s athletic facility and a science, language and arts building she helped donate.

With social justice initiatives continuing to inform our national dialogue in response to George Floyd’s tragic passing last month, countless institutions across the U.S. have taken a hard stance on discrimination, signaling that racial prejudice will no longer be tolerated. Kudos to the University of Cincinnati for doing what it should have done a long time ago.

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