King's son says talk of Mets interest is premature

Martin Luther King Jr.'s oldest son says any discussion of his potential interest in becoming a minority owner of the New York Mets is premature.

Martin Luther King III said he was contacted Saturday by television executive Larry Meli, who is interested in putting together a group that would include former Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool and Donn Clendenon Jr., whose father was MVP of the Mets' 1969 World Series victory.

King said he encouraged Meli because it would increase diversity. But King also said he was not actively putting together a group.

"This was blown up way out of proportion," King said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "While I'm not leading a group and I'm not having direct conversations with the Wilpons, I think it is very important to promote diversity in ownership."

"I believe in the merit and American value of creating an example, 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 said.

King runs the King Center in Atlanta.

Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his son, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, said Friday that they were considering selling a 20 percent to 25 percent interest in the team. The announcement came after they were named in a lawsuit from the trustee trying to reclaim money for the victims of the Bernard Madoff swindle.