M’s suspend Clevenger without pay for rest of season after controversial tweets about protesters

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 28:  Steve Clevenger #32 of the Seattle Mariners heads back to the dugout after striking out  with two runners on base to end the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field on May 28, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 28: Steve Clevenger #32 of the Seattle Mariners heads back to the dugout after striking out with two runners on base to end the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field on May 28, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners on Friday announced that catcher Steve Clevenger would be suspended without pay for the remainder of the season after some recent controversial tweets.

Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto made the announcement, saying:

“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.” “Today we have informed him that he is suspended for the remainder of the season without pay.”

Clevenger apologized Thursday night for his tweets on police shootings and protests, saying that he is “sickened … that anyone would think of me in racist terms.”

Earlier in the day, Clevenger posted two tweets referring to the recent controversy over police shootings, particularly to the protests taking place in Charlotte, N.C.:

“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!” read one.

“BLM is pathetic once again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals!” read the other.

The tweets set off a firestorm on social media, and the Seattle Mariners released a statement Thursday night saying they were “very disappointed” with the two tweets sent out by Clevenger.

“While he is certainly free to express himself, his tweets do not in any way represent the opinions of the Seattle Mariners,” the statement reads. “We strongly disagree with the language and tone of his comments.”

The Mariners said they were “examining all internal options that are available to us” in response to the tweets.

Later Thursday night, Clevenger issued an apology with this 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. 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 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."