Last we heard from Steve Clevenger, the former Orioles catcher was offering an apology in a prepared statement for what he called an "ill-worded tweet."
Last we heard from Steve Clevenger, the former Orioles catcher and Pigtown native was offering a September apology in a prepared statement for what he called an "ill-worded tweet."
Now that he's recovered from the broken hand that sidelined him last season and is still without a professional contract, the 30-year-old who was traded for American League home run champion Mark Trumbo is having to do some more uncomfortable public relations.
"I'm not a racist," Clevenger told Yahoo Sports on Monday, his first interview since a tweetstorm that caused him to delete his Twitter account and got him suspended without pay by the Seattle Mariners for the remainder of the season.
"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!" tweeted Clevenger, referring to the civil unrest and protests in Charlotte, N.C., over the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
"[Black Lives Matter] is pathetic once again!" he wrote in a second tweet. "Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals!"
Clevenger said he's sorry. Especially now, with spring training beginning and no teams calling.
"My words were wrong. I regret every day that I wrote it, and I wish I could take it back," Clevenger told Yahoo Sports. "They were harsh. They were mean. They angered a lot of people. And I'm sorry for it. I can only ask for forgiveness."
Clevenger has done what he can to make amends. He told Yahoo Sports that he has spoken with a number of African-Americans within and without baseball about their place in the game and society. He watched the PBS documentary "Slavery by Another Name" and Ava DuVernay's "13th," about the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery.
He also has done what he can to make himself a viable free-agent option. Clevenger was dropped from the Mariners' 40-man roster in November and opted for free agency. While no organization has offered even a minor league contract, Clevenger said he worked out in Florida over the offseason, staying in shape, and that he would be willing to play independent baseball if necessary.
But the Mount Saint Joseph alum is most concerned about public perception.
"I wasn't raised to be a racist," he said. "My family isn't racist. Nobody I'm involved with is racist. I don't condone it. I don't agree with hating people. That's not me. That's not who I am. That's not something I'm OK with supporting."