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Methodists reject Richmond over name of Braves AAA minor league team

 

(RNS) — The United Methodist Church will not hold its 2012 leadership conference in Richmond, Va., because the name of the city’s minor league baseball team is racially charged, the church’s leadership has announced.

Members of the conference’s planning commission said they were unaware that Virginia’s capital was home to the Richmond Braves – a team affiliated with the Atlanta Braves – when they originally chose the city to host the Methodist Church’s General Conference.

The Methodists are now planning to hold the 2012 conference in Tampa, Fla., served by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays major league baseball team and Tampa Yankees minor league team.

At the 2004 conference in Pittsburgh, delegates passed a resolution to avoid holding meetings and events in cities that sponsor sport teams brandishing Native American names and symbols, which the resolution called “a blatant expression of racism.”

The resolution was passed partly in response to controversy regarding the church’s 2000 meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Cleveland Indians franchise.