The Seattle Mariners suspended catcher Steve Clevenger for sending tweets on Thursday calling Keith Lamont Scott, the man fatally shot by Charlotte police, a “thug” and saying those protesting his death should be “locked behind bars like animals.”
“Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha shit cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!” Clevenger tweeted from his account, @Clev_45.
In another tweeted, he said, “BLM is pathetic once again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals!”
Although Clevenger’s account is now protected, the tweets were captured in screenshots.
look at this asshole pic.twitter.com/bzOstVrLHl
— #blacklivesmatter (@cablebox666) September 22, 2016
Both messages referenced Scott’s killing by police, which has sparked protests in the city that have occasionally turned violent. On Friday, NBC News aired new disturbing footage of the moments before the fatal shooting captured by his wife, Rakeyia Scott.
After Clevenger’s tweets, the Mariners announced he would be suspended without pay for the rest of the season. Clevenger had been sidelined with a season-ending injury since June.
In a statement, Jerry Dipoto, Mariners executive vice president and general manager, said the organization was “very disappointed” in the messages.
“While he is certainly free to express himself, his tweets do not in any way represent the opinions of the Seattle Mariners. We strongly disagree with the language and tone of his comments,” Dipoto said.
Clevenger apologized for the remarks and said he is “sickened” that anyone would view him as racist in a statement to Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal.
“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,” he said. “I once again apologize to anyone who was offended today and I just ask you not judge me off of a social media posting.”