Seattle Mariners catcher Steve Clevenger posted racially insensitive tweets regarding civil unrest in Charlotte, N.C., following a black man’s fatal shooting by police.
Former Orioles catcher and Baltimore native Steve Clevenger, who was traded to the Seattle Mariners last winter for major league home run leader Mark Trumbo, has been suspended for the remainder of the baseball season for making two insensitive Twitter posts.
Whether we should be punishing people for making idiotic and offensive comments in a supposedly open society that values free speech is a fair subject for debate.
Whether anyone who lives in the public spotlight should be impulsively posting on Twitter -- even a fairly obscure reserve catcher -- is not.
This is just another stupid athlete trick and the Mariners acted predictably to try and make it go away as quickly as possible, which is their right as an employer just as Clevenger making a fool of himself on Twitter is his right as an American. Clevenger probably got off easy considering that he only had one more paycheck coming this season.
It's probably naive to think that he'll become the object lesson for anyone else in a high-profile job who suddenly feels the urge to express an unfiltered opinion on a hot-button issue. The instant nature of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites combined with the lack of good judgment evidenced among the billions of daily posts on those sites indicates just the opposite.
Comments like Clevenger's are an unfortunate staple of social media and they come from both fringes of every controversial issue. They only make news when they can be attached to a major name or a major brand.
Clevenger certainly is not a major name, but he is part of a huge sports/entertainment business that cannot tolerate public comments that damage that brand and alienate a significant percentage of its clientele.
However, this might be a good time to ask ourselves if society is enforcing an unfair double standard, since no athlete has yet been suspended for making highly generalized attacks on the integrity of the nation's law enforcement officers, though the vast majority of them risk their lives daily and honorably to protect ours.
The NFL, you might remember, threatened to fine a player for wearing commemorative 9/11 cleats two weeks ago, but San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was allowed to wear socks in practice portraying police officers as pigs without official rebuke.
To be fair, African-Americans will rightfully tell you that they've been living with a huge double standard in this country for several centuries, but that doesn't mean the Black Lives Matter movement or, for that matter, President Obama should be above criticism.