The Seattle Mariners have suspended Steve Clevenger for the rest of the MLB season after the catcher labeled the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and President Barack Obama “pathetic” on Twitter Thursday.
Clevenger also also mocked the protests of sports stars kneeling during the US anthem and seemed to suggest all involved in protesting the death of Keith Lamont Scott at the hands of police in Charlotte, North Carolina, should be locked up like “animals.”
“Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha s**t cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the anthem!” Clevenger tweeted Thursday.
Another post stated: “BLM is pathetic once again! Obama is pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals.”
Clevenger made his Twitter account private Thursday but not before alert users could capture screen grabs of the messages.
Friday’s statement from Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed Clevenger’s fate. “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,” Dipoto said. “Today we have informed him that he is suspended for the remainder of the season without pay.”
A previous statement from Dipoto on the incident Thursday had revealed the organization was considering its options on Clevenger while also making clear “his tweets do not in any way represent the opinions of the Seattle Mariners.”
Clevenger issued his own statement to reporters Thursday — which was reproduced on Facebook by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal — insisting there was no racial undertone to his tweets, while apologizing for his choice of words.
‘Better world for everyone’
“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,” Clevenger’s statement read.
“I grew up in (Baltimore) 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.
“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 would like to be a part of the dialogue moving forward to make this a better world for everyone.”
Activists took to the streets for a third night in Charlotte Thursday to protest the fatal shooting of Scott. Charlotte police chief Kerr Putney told reporters Wednesday that Scott had been shot by a black police officer named Brentley Vinson.
Police claim Scott exited his vehicle with a gun when approached by officers. Scott’s family deny this, saying he didn’t own a gun. They instead say he was reading a book when police approached.
Large gatherings on Tuesday and Wednesday in Charlotte had turned violent, with teargas fired by police to quell protestors, but remained peaceful Thursday.
Earlier this week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, told reporters that he had received death threats for kneeling during the national anthem to highlight what he has described as racist police practice and the continued oppression of black people in America.
Numerous US sports stars have joined Kaepernick in his protest in recent weeks. However, others view these actions as disrespectful.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called for Kaepernick to leave the country, while Republican senator Ted Cruz condemned protesting athletes for insulting the American flag.