The Seattle Mariners suspended Steve Clevenger for the remainder of the season on Friday, even though the backup catcher apologized after posting two inflammatory tweets in response to civil unrest in Charlotte, N.C., including calling for protesters to be “locked behind bars like animals.”
“As soon as we became aware of the tweets posted by Steve yesterday we began to examine all of our options in regard to his standing on the team,” Mariners executive vice president and general manager of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said in a statement Friday. “Today we have informed him that he is suspended for the reminder of the season without pay.”
On Thursday night, the Mariners said they were reviewing “all internal options” in response to what Clevenger wrote earlier in the day on Twitter.
“The Seattle Mariners are very disappointed at the tweets posted on Steve Clevenger’s account,” the team statement read Thursday night. “While he is certainly free to express himself, his tweets do not in any way represent the opinions of the Seattle Mariners. We strongly disagree with the language and tone of his comments. We are currently examining all internal options that are available to us as we determine appropriate next steps. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Demonstrators in Charlotte have been protesting the death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was shot and killed by a black police officer Tuesday. Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in the midst of Wednesday’s rioting by protesters.
Clevenger also mocked the civil rights campaign Black Lives Matter in one of his tweets posted to his account, which was later set to private Thursday night.
Seattle radio station KOMO reporter Jon Humbert earlier in the day published screen-grab images of the two tweets that Clevenger posted.
“Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black police officer,” Clevenger wrote. “Haha (expletive) cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!
“(Black Lives Matter) is pathetic once again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals!”
— jonhumbert (@jonhumbert) September 22, 2016
Clevenger apologized hours after the Mariners issued their statement.
“First and foremost I would like to apologize to the Seattle Mariners, my teammates, my family and the fans of our great game for the distraction my tweets on my personal twitter page caused when they went public earlier today,” Clevenger said in the statement. “I am sickened by the idea that anyone would think of me in racist terms. My tweets were reactionary to the events I saw on the news and were worded beyond poorly at best and I can see how and why someone could read into my tweets far more deeply than how I actually feel.
“I grew up on the streets of Baltimore, a city I love to this very day. I grew up in a very culturally diverse area of America and I am very proud to come from there. I am also proud that my inner circle of friends has never been defined by race but by the content of their character. Any former teammate or anyone who has met me can attest to this and I pride myself on not being a judgmental person. I just ask that the public not judge me because of an ill worded tweet.
“I do believe that supporting our First Amendment rights and supporting local law enforcement are not mutually exclusive. With everything going on in the world I really just want what is best for everyone regardless of who they are. I like many Americans are frustrated by a lot of things in the world and I would like to be a part of the dialogue moving forward to make this a better world for everyone.
“I once again apologize to anyone who was offended today and I just ask you not judge me off of a social media posting. Thank you and God bless everyone.”
The 30-year-old Clevenger appeared in 22 games with the Mariners this season prior to being placed on the disabled list with a fractured hand on June 30. He hit .221 with three doubles, one home run and seven RBIs.
Clevenger is a veteran of six major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs (2011-13), Baltimore Orioles (2013-15) and Mariners (2016). He has appeared in 170 career games with a batting average of .227 with four homers and 48 RBIs.
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