Double Standard For Athletes Exercising Free Speech As MLB Suspends Black Lives Matter Critic
As debate rages about recent the recent deaths of black males in interactions with law enforcement officers and both presidential candidates offering comments along with pundits and media “experts,” a larger debate may be taking place largely unnoticed.
The right to speak out at all may be in danger – if the speech runs contrary to the powers that be in Washington and the liberal media.
Newly demoted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has revived his sagging career, landing on the cover of TIME Magazine after his decision to protest such incidents by refusing to stand for the national anthem before NFL games.
That move has garnered support from other professional athletes, including Brandon Marshall of the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and members of the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as the entire Indiana Fever WNBA team, filtering down through middle schools, even to the Pee-Wee league.
In addition, President Obama chose the occasion of a state visit to China to express his support of Kaepernick’s right to “exercise his Constitutional right” to speak his mind.
But apparently that right is available only to some athletes. Just ask major league baseball player Steve Clevenger, who now plays for the Seattle Mariners, after he learned he was suspended without pay for the rest of the season for criticizing not only the Black Lives Matter movement, but President Obama.
After riots erupted in Charlotte following a police-related shooting of a black man, Clevenger tweeted: “BLM is pathetic once again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals!”
A second tweet read: “Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha s*** cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!”
Former Orioles Catcher, Steve "No Chill" Clevenger... pic.twitter.com/App0CQWXVy
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) September 22, 2016
Retribution was quick, as the Seattle Mariners announced his suspension.
Not surprisingly, the catcher released an apology couched in the careful wording of public relations experts doing damage control, but team management has not relented, issuing its own statement that at once acknowledged his right to free speech, and punished him for daring to exercise that right.
“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.”
USA Today blared its own judgment on Clevenger’s rights.
“Why is Clevenger still wearing a major-league uniform? Why is he still employed by the Mariners? Why haven’t they already released him? There is no reason that Clevenger should be able to wake up Friday morning and be gainfully employed by Major League Baseball.”