Baseball Player Tweets Racist Message, Then Pulls Apology Out of the ‘I’m Not a Racist’ Handbook: Examined

Seattle Mariners backup catcher-infielder Steve Clevenger tweeted some pretty hateful messages, then fielded a pretty poorly worded apology.

Steve Clevenger of the Seattle Mariners during a game April 21, 2016, in Cleveland
Steve Clevenger of the Seattle Mariners during a game April 21, 2016, in Cleveland Jason Miller/Getty Images

Updated Friday, Sept. 23, 2:42 p.m. EDT: The Seattle Mariners have suspended Steve Clevenger for the remainder of the 2016 season without pay. Clevenger spent Thursday tweeting out vile messages about Keith Lamont Scott, who was gunned down by Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., police, and those who have been protesting his death. In theory, the suspension sounds good until you realize that Major League Baseball’s regular season is over in two weeks.


Seattle Mariners backup catcher-infielder Steve Clevenger tweeted some pretty hateful messages Thursday, only to backtrack once his team shamed him into an apology.

Clevenger tweeted: “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!”

He then added: “BLM is pathetic once again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals!”


Sporting News reports that Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto issued a statement Thursday:

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 steps. We will have no further comment at this time.

Clevenger issued an apology after his team shamed him into it. We’ve seen these apologies time and again, so how about we rate it on the “Whitesplaining Real Racism” scale?

There are three steps to take when one is issuing a real racism apology after saying or tweeting something really racist.

The first is shock and awe that anyone would find you racist. In order for someone to believe that you aren’t racist, you have to act as if you can’t believe that anyone would ever think such things of you. It works better if you have a fainting couch.

The second is a connection to black people you would never hurt. These are usually friends, a nanny, a co-worker, a white family member who dated a black person in the radical ’60s. Show a strong bond with them, and by default, your racism will be absolved.

The third is to pepper your apology with the language of great civil rights leaders. Just look them up and add them to your statement. Doesn’t even matter if they pertain to your actual charge of racism. See if Rosa Parks said anything before she was carted off the bus, and use it. Black people know all the phraseology of civil rights blackness, and we will connect to it easy.

Now let’s look at Clevenger’s statement, which was sent to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. I won’t post the whole thing here, just the highlights. First, he notes that he’s “sickened by the idea that anyone would think of me in racist terms.”