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Suspended without pay! Free speech for Kaepernick, but not white baseball player Steve Clevenger

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Free speech for thee, but not for me.

In a move that may have some wondering just who has the real “privilege” in America, a white Major League Baseball player has been suspended for the rest of the season after taking a subtle swipe at NFL player Colin Kaepernick and his alleged “protest” of the national anthem while condemning President Barack Obama and the violent Black Lives Matter movement.

The Seattle Mariners suspended catcher Steve Clevenger without pay for the remainder of the season after he posted two comments on Twitter in response to the deadly rioting in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week, the Seattle Times reported.

Photo source Wikimedia Commons … Photo By Keith Allison on Flickr – Originally posted to Flickr as “Steve Clevenger”, CC BY-SA 2.0

The civil unrest was provoked by a black Charlotte police officer killing an armed black man who refused to drop his weapon and a video emerged from the chaos showing a group of black men attacking a white man.

In the first tweet, Clevenger was apparently remarking on that incident while mocking those who choose to kneel during the national anthem, a movement inspired by Kaepernick, according to The Times.

(Clevenger’s tweet’s are now protected and can only be seen by “confirmed followers.”)

“Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha (expletive) cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!”

 

In the second tweet, Clevenger targeted the anti-cop Black Lives Matter movement and President Obama.

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

 

Injecting too much honesty in his remarks proved to be more than the Mariners were willing to tolerate. The team turned its lawyers loose on the MLB/MLBPA collective bargaining agreement and they found a clause allowing them to suspend the player.

“As soon as we became aware of the tweets posted by Steve [Clevenger] yesterday we began to examine all of our options in regard to his standing on the team,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement, according to The Times. “Today we have informed him that he is suspended for the reminder of the season without pay.”

Clevenger’s salary is $516,500 and with the season set to end in just over a week, the suspension will cost him about $30,000.

Ironically, the NFL’s labor agreement is said to have a similar clause allowing it to regulate speech in the workplace — which leaves the question: Is white speech being persecuted?

Clevenger, who said he grew up on the “very culturally diverse” streets of Baltimore, issued an apology Friday.

“I am sickened by the idea that anyone would think of me in racist terms,” he wrote. “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 do believe that supporting our First Amendment rights and supporting local law enforcement are not mutually exclusive,” he added. “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.”

His full remarks can be seen here:

Tom Tillison

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