Baseball players don’t often find themselves in the news, but Seattle Mariners catcher Steve Clevenger recently came under fire for tweets following the Charlotte riots. Twitter is a dangerous place for political opinions or anything involving social justice issues, and posts made on the micro-blogging site can become a nightmare.
The whole thing started this past month when a Charlotte, North Carolina, police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott for not stopping when the officer told him to. What sparked the outrage was the fact that the victim happened to be black. The difference was that the victim had been holding a gun, even if he had no intention of using it, and the officer was also black.
This differs from the combination of facts which started the trend last year in Ferguson, Missouri, and spawned the creation of activist group Black Lives Matter.
— CNN International (@cnni) September 23, 2016
The group has since responded to police violence in a variety of ways. Sometimes they blocked off busy freeways, a peaceful form of protest that drew like-minded people of other cultures to join. Unfortunately, much like in Ferguson, Charlotte protesters took to the streets and engaged in yet another riot.
Many outside Black Lives Matter have pointed out that rioting literally solves nothing and only makes the problem worse. This was likely what baseball player Steve Clevenger was thinking when the Seattle Mariners baseball player made his racially insensitive statements.
“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! … BLM is pathetic once again! Obama is pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals.”
The part about kneeling for the anthem was sparked by Colin Kaepernick, an NFL player who started a protest against police violence by refusing to stand for the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Technically, the racist part of the anthem is never sung, but that didn’t stop Kaepernick from kneeling instead. Kneeling was his compromise due to the sacrifices made by war veterans who fought for his right to protest.
Aside from Obama’s final address against racism and other things at the United Nations, it’s unclear what the president had to do with the baseball player’s words.
— Jon Humbert (@jonhumbert) September 22, 2016
A previous MLB player had been suspended for doing the same thing in 2000, says USA Today. The Atlanta Braves’ John Rocker had made racist statements in an interview with Sports Illustrated and was taken out of the game for 73 days. Some wonder if MLB catcher Steve Clevenger will be likewise suspended for his tweets.
CNN says Clevenger has since apologized for his statements.
“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. … 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.”
The Seattle Mariners have stated that they are “very disappointed” by the baseball player’s comments but have yet to do anything further. Clevenger has even made his Twitter account protected, most likely to stop the barrage of hate he has garnered.
Do you think Steve Clevenger should be suspended, or was his apology enough?
Update: Clevenger has been suspended.
[Featured Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]