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Clevenger issues apology for `reactionary’ tweets that were `worded poorly’

Steve Clevenger’s comments on twitter regarding racial unrest drew a swift response from the Mariners.
Steve Clevenger’s comments on twitter regarding racial unrest drew a swift response from the Mariners. AP

Mariners backup catcher Steve Clevenger issued an apology late Thursday for a pair of racially insensitive posts earlier in the day on twitter that he said were "reactionary" to news events and "worded poorly at best."

Clevenger’s statement came a few hours after the Mariners distanced themselves from his comments by expressing disappointment and vowing to examine "all internal options" to "determine "appropriate next steps."

Responding to racial unrest after incidents in Charlotte, N.C.,and elsewhere, Clevenger posted two tweets that created a social-media firestorm by criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement and blaming President Obama for the situation.

First: "Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer. Haha (stuff) cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!"

And later: "BLM is pathetic once again. Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals."

The Mariners responded by issuing a statement from general manager Jerry Dipoto:

"The Seattle Mariners are very disappointed at the tweets posted on Steve Clevenger’s account. 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.

"We are currently examining all internal options that are available to us as we determine appropriate next steps. We will have no further comment at this time."

The controversy prompted Clevenger to alter his twitter account later in the day by requiring followers to get permission before viewing his tweets. He issued his statement through agent Joshua Kusnick.

"First and foremost," Clevenger said, "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 that 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 judgmental 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."

Clevenger, 30, batted .221 with one homer and seven RBIs in 22 games before suffering a broken finger when hit by a foul tip in a June 29 game against Pittsburgh at Safeco Field.

After undergoing surgery, Clevenger appeared poised to return to active duty in September before he suffered an elbow injury during the rehab process. He remains on the 60-day disabled list.

The Mariners acquired Clevenger from Baltimore in a Dec. 2, 2015 trade for first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo and relief pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

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