Martin Luther King III invoked the spirit of his late father as he confirmed his involvement in discussions to purchase a part of the New York Mets.
In a late-night statement released to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday, King said that he hoped that the venture, if successful, would increase diversity among the owners in professional sports.
Major league baseball has no African-American owners.
“I believe in the merit and American value of creating an example,” King said in the statement, “and if I personally, or as part of a collective, can advance the vision of a more diverse ownership group in professional sports, domestically or internationally, then, like my father, I am prepared to act in that spirit.”
He added, “There has been a lot of discussion and speculation about my participation in the acquisition of the New York Mets. The public release of those discussions was premature.”
King declined through a spokesman to elaborate on a report in the New York Post that he is collaborating with several major money players in the venture, including Mets legend Ed Kranepool, entrepreneur Donn Clendenon Jr., son of the 1969 Mets World Series MVP; and TV executive Larry Meli.
“It’s fitting with the legacy of Jackie Robinson essentially transferring to the Mets; what better place to have African-American ownership than with the Mets,” Meli told the Post.
King, 53, is scheduled to come to New York this week to set up a meeting with the owners, who announced Friday they’re looking to sell up to 25 percent of the team, the Post said. Meli told the Post he and his group wants to purchase at least 50 percent of the club.
“Martin Luther King Jr. died for the common man to do better in his life,” Meli said. “That sort of legacy is going to take hold here.”
About the Author
Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com