Trending: Key Zillow Group exec Greg Schwartz leaving after 12 years, amid massive changes at real estate giant
Seattle Mariners
(Via @Mariners on Twitter)

Seattle Mariners backup catcher Steve Clevenger waded into the charged atmosphere of police shootings and protests on Twitter on Thursday and a day later the team suspended him without pay for the remainder of the season.

On his private account on Thursday, the 30-year-old Clevenger fired off controversial tweets aimed at protesters in Charlotte, N.C., calling the Black Lives Matter movement and President Obama “pathetic” and saying that everyone involved should be “locked behind bars like animals.” The tweets were captured and shared by various users on Twitter:

Clevenger Twitter
A screen grab of Steve Clevenger’s protected Twitter account. (Via Twitter)

Later Thursday, the Mariners issued a statement from general manager Jerry Dipoto in which the team said it was disappointed in the tweets by Clevenger, disagreed with the language and tone of his comments and was examining all internal options to determine next steps.

Twitter users expressed without a doubt that that next step should be to get rid of Clevenger. By 10 p.m. Thursday night, Major League Baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal shared a statement from Clevenger on his Facebook page, in which the player apologized to the Mariners, his teammates and fans.

“I am sickened by the idea that anyone would think of me in racist terms,” Clevenger wrote. “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.”

By Friday morning the Mariners had come to a decision and Dipoto issued another statement, saying that Clevenger would be suspended.

According to, Clevenger was on the 60-day disabled list recovering from a broken hand and elbow injury. He was making $516,000 this year and is scheduled to be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and is under the Mariners’ control for three more seasons.

USA Today reports that Clevenger has appeared in 170 career Major League games, but played in just 22 this season. His career batting average is .227.

The entire episode comes in the wake of a national discussion around police shootings of African Americans and the role of athletes in expressing their feelings about such events and the protests around them.

San Francisco 49ers questerback Colin Kaepernick led the movement among some football players to sit out the playing of the National Anthem before games. A recent poll found him to be the America’s most disliked NFL player.

Doug Baldwin
Seattle Seahawk Doug Baldwin, during his appearance at the GeekWire Spirts Tech Summit in July. (Kevin Lisota / GeekWire)

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said in a press conference on Thursday that he is “demanding” that all 50 state attorney generals call for review of police training policies.

“This is not an isolated conversation,” Baldwin said. “This is not isolated just to some specific parts of our country. We see that now. And the advancement of technology has proven that, from the video of Rodney King in 1991 to the numerous incidents that we now have visual evidence of today.”

Baldwin’s actions came a day after fellow Seahawk Richard Sherman refused to answer reporters’ questions at his own press conference and instead used the opportunity to address recent shootings.

Social media has long been a touchy arena for sports stars, who are expected to perform on the field without giving fans too much of an idea of what’s going on in their heads, especially when it comes to views on social issues or politics.

Seahawks punter Jon Ryan ditched his Twitter and Instagram accounts in June after getting upset by comments reacting to his sympathy for the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Sports junkie? Subscribe to GeekWire's Sports Tech weekly newletter


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.