The Seattle Mariners suspended Steve Clevenger without pay for the remainder of the season, moving swiftly Friday to discipline their backup catcher after his set of tweets imploring that protestors in Charlotte should be “locked behind bars like animals.”
Clevenger, 30, who has played in just 22 games this season, issued an apology Thursday night for his tweets referring to protests in North Carolina following the fatal police shooting of an African American. He will not appeal his suspension, according to a person with direct knowledge of the issue. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the matter is ongoing.
“Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha (expletive) cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the anthem!
“BLM (Black Lives Matter) is pathetic again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone should be locked behind bars like animals!”
The Mariners issued a statement Thursday condemning the tweets, with general manager Jerry Dipoto noting the club is “examining all internal options available to us.”
Clevenger was making a non-guaranteed $517,000 this season; his suspension will cost him around $32,000.
A lifetime .227 hitter in 170 games over six seasons, Clevenger batted .221 with one home run this season. He’s best known for being included in trades that sent eventual ace Jake Arrieta from the Baltimore Orioles to the Chicago Cubs, and slugger Mark Trumbo from the Mariners the Orioles this past off-season.
Demonstrators in Charlotte have been protesting the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was shot and killed by police. Two officers and nine civilians were injured and 44 people arrested on Wednesday in several hours of violence that broke out following peaceful protests, prompting Gov. Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency.
Clevenger’s apology Thursday focused on the “distraction” he caused teammates and was “sickened by the idea that anyone would think of me in racist terms.”
“I grew up on the streets of Baltimore, a city I love to this very day,” Clevenger said in a statement first released to Fox Sports. “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 judgemental 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.”
Clevenger attended Mt. St. Joseph’s High School, a Catholic college preparatory school in Baltimore that also produced All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira.