Marge Schott is a name that likely stirs several emotions in Cincinnati and surrounding areas. Unfortunately, most of those emotions aren’t positive ones.
On Tuesday, the University of Cincinnati announced it is removing Schott’s name from its baseball stadium and a library archive.
Polarizing and fascinating, Schott was one of the most recognizable professional sports team owners in the country in the 1980s and ’90s. She often sat in the field-level blue seats by the dugout at Riverfront Stadium. Her Saint Bernard, Schottzie, would run a lap before games. She hired Lou Piniella, a longtime American Leaguer at the time, to manage her Cincinnati Reds — and it paid dividends when he guided them to the 1990 World Series title. And she absolutely loved the city of Cincinnati.
Schott, if known most prominently for those things, would have been viewed as an affable success, not to mention a champion for female team owners.
However, overshadowing all of her good qualities were some awful, deep-seated feelings that she made public.
Schott’s racism and bigotry are reasons why UC and Saint Ursula Academy are disassociating with her name.
Major League Baseball suspended Schott often because of her slurs and inexcusable praise of Adolf Hitler. Over the years, team employees have revealed Schott’s racism through the recollection of derogatory remarks about Jews and Japanese.
Schott couldn’t stay out of hot water because of her mouth. Finally, she sold controlling interest in the team in 1999.
Perhaps UC should’ve declined a $2 million donation from the Marge & Charles J. Schott Foundation in 2006, two years after Schott died. Then it wouldn’t have felt obligated to name facilities after her in the first place.
Regardless, the school’s board of trustees made a wise, overdue decision on Tuesday.
UC President Neville G. Pinto said Schott’s record of racism and bigotry “stands at stark odds with our university’s core commitment to dignity, equity and inclusion.”
Hat tip to UC. This may open the eyes of other leaders across the country about names attached to their schools.