Seattle Mariners catcher Steve Clevenger has been suspended for the remainder of the MLB season for controversial Twitter comments he posted on Sept. 22.
His tweets were in apparent response to the protests following the fatal shooting by police of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, reports ABC News.
Clevenger tweeted that President Barack Obama and Black Lives Matter are “pathetic,” and that those protesting the shooting of Scott “should be locked behind bars like animals.”
He also mocked the refusal to stand for the national anthem, which San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick initiated in a preseason NFL game on Aug. 26 in protest against racial discrimination. “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world,” he explained after the first time he refused to stand during the traditional playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
In response to the growing protest movement, Clevenger tweeted: "Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha s--- cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the anthem!"
On the day of Clevenger’s tweets, Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto issued a statement:
The Seattle Mariners are very disappointed at the tweets posted on Steve Clevenger’s account…. 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.
Clevenger, in turn, issued an apologetic response:
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.
But despite the Clevenger’s lengthy apology, the following day Dipoto announced the player was officially suspended for the rest of the season without pay.
Fortunately for Clevenger, there were only seven games left when his suspension commenced.