Mariners’ Steve Clevenger Catching Flak Over Foul Comments

Talk about out of left field.

This is the stuff that reminds you that people you think would understand, really don’t.

The people you believe would be open-minded because not only did they grow up in a diverse environment, but they play in it every day.

Baseball, of all sports, is so diverse. There are players from everywhere, including Japan. It’s far from a black and white sport.

If you’re in the game, you will touch, eat, sleep, win, lose and talk with someone different from you and your upbringing.

Baseball doesn’t come in a particular size, shape. There is no singular language. Many play together, yet can’t communicate with each other without help.

It’s that piece that connects the national pastime to so many people. Don’t forget. It was the great game of baseball that helped to change this country for the better when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

Enter Seattle Mariners’ back-up catcher Steve Clevenger.

Yep. Nobody knew him. Now everybody does. It turns out that not only does he have opinions. He has Twitter, too. Not good. In fact, foul – and not in the baseball sense.

Granted tensions are running hot in the country with police shootings and protests. Many in and out of sports have added their two cents worth.

Clevenger went off Thursday on the recent unrest following the fatal shooting of a man by police in Charlotte, North Carolina. He posted a few controversial tweets that he later apologized for.

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In one tweet, he said in part that “Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals.”

Animals? Was that termed used because black people were protesting another black man being shot by the police?

Clevenger also went in on Black Lives Matter, a civil rights campaign. He referenced the Charlotte shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man killed by police Tuesday, and the violent protests in the aftermath.

“Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black police officer,” one of the tweets said, according to Seattle radio station KOMO reporter Jon Humbert, who published screen-grab images of the tweets that Clevenger posted to his account, which has since been set to private. “Haha s— cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!”

The Mariners said they were “very disappointed” by the comments. Clevenger has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the season. 

Clevenger – a 30-year-old journeyman who was batting .221 in 22 games this season – has a right to voice his opinion, of course. It’s just his tone and comments came off as racist. That’s what shook MLB America.

He issued a long statement through his agent after angry pushback. Clevenger said that he was “sickened by the idea that anyone would think of me in racist terms.”

Clevenger said his tweets were reaction to the news out of Charlotte. He added the his tweets were “worded beyond poorly.”

The sad part is that Clevenger should know better, have had more compassion. He grew up in Baltimore, not some rural area where he had little, if any, contact with people different from himself.

“I grew up in the streets of Baltimore, a city I love to this day,” he said. “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.”

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Sadly, it’s exactly what he sounded like when he took to Twitter.

Clevenger went onto say that he hoped he wasn’t going to be judged solely on some social-media posts.

“I do believe that supporting our First Amendment rights and supporting local law enforcement are not mutually exclusive,” Clevenger said in his statement. “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.”

Clevenger sounds like he’s calling for the right signals now.

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