Porn News Takes Aim at Atlanta Braves

Atlanta- Baseball, apple pie and pornography?

A Colorado billionaire wants to buy the Atlanta Braves baseball team. But a pro-family grassroots campaign in Georgia is springing up to oppose the purchase because of the way he made his fortune.

Major League Baseball owners will meet Aug. 8-10 in New York City in a regularly scheduled meeting. They may discuss whether John Malone’s company, Liberty Media, can buy the struggling Braves from Time Warner.

No one doubts Malone’s financial resources. The Englewood businessman, one of the world’s richest men, is estimated by Forbes Magazine to be worth $4 billion.

But Stephen Adams, associate editor of Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine, says Malone is not what he appears to be — and doesn’t deserve to own the Braves.

“He has the public reputation of being a Donald Trump-kind of dealmaker or Rupert Murdoch-style media magnate,” Adams said. “Indeed, he plays in that heady environment. But there’s another side to his business that most people don’t know. He is one of the biggest pornographers in America.”

Adams will chronicle Malone’s connections to white-collar pornography in an upcoming issue of Citizen.

“John Malone has been responsible for promoting sexually explicit video for decades,” Adams said. “First, with a company called Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI), which was residential community-franchise cable TV, and now with On Command, which supplies porn films to a million hotel rooms in America.”

Malone’s company, Liberty Media, would reportedly get the Braves and an undisclosed amount of cash, in exchange for some shares in Time Warner and a half-ownership in the Court TV cable network.

The transaction is more about reducing income taxes, than bettering baseball, Adams asserted — and Malone would not be expected to hold onto the team for very long if he got the keys to the owner’s box.

But for tomahawk-chopping fans, any stretch of time with a pornographer at the helm is a dagger aimed at the heart of their beloved Braves.

Sadie Fields, state chairman of the Christian Coalition of Georgia, said several pro-family organizations have banded together to oppose Malone.

“We have formed the Coalition for Clean Baseball,” Fields told CitizenLink from her office in Atlanta. “It is made up of Christian Coalition of Georgia, Georgia Family Council and the Georgia chapter of Concerned Women for America.

“We believe that baseball is still the national pastime,” she said. “It is a sport for families and children to enjoy, and we want to ensure that whoever owns the Braves here in Atlanta believes in those same principles.”

Randy Hicks, executive director of the Georgia Family Council, said he doesn’t believe the Malone deal would be in the best interest of baseball or Atlanta.

“At a time when Major League Baseball has such a tainted image because of steroids and other recent incidents,” he said, “it doesn’t make sense that they would welcome one of the largest distributors of pornography into the Major League Baseball family.”

What can stop the deal from going through?

“I think public outcry can,” Hicks said. “I think if you get the right people expressing concern — not only about their own community, but about the reputation of baseball — perhaps Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners will back off the whole idea.”

The big problem for the grassroots campaign, according to Hicks, is that few people have any idea about Malone’s connections to porn.

“If you listen to sports-talk radio in Atlanta, which I do fairly frequently, it’s not as if they are talking about Liberty Media a lot,” Hicks said. “In fact, John Malone’s name rarely comes up, so this is under the radar for most fans.”

However, Phil Burress, president of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values, has long known about Malone’s connection with the porn business.

“Our paths crossed with Malone many years ago here in the Cincinnati market, when he controlled TCI, and they were dealing in hard-core pornography,” Burress told CitizenLink. “We’re well aware of who this man is.”

A die-hard Cincinnati Reds fan, Burress said he’s outraged any Major League Baseball team could be bought by a white-collar pornographer.

“The fact that he is trying to buy the Atlanta Braves is something that just repulses me,” the anti-porn activist said.

If Malone is allowed to become the Atlanta owner, Burress wonders who might be next.

“Cincinnati is home to (Hustler magazine publisher) Larry Flynt,” he said. “How would baseball respond if Larry Flynt tried to buy the Cincinnati Reds? If John Malone is going to buy the Braves, then who could say ‘No’ to Larry?”


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