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Mariners suspend catcher for rest of season

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 9/23/2016 by USA TODAY Sports, USA TODAY

M's catcher should be released for controversial tweets © Ken Blaze, USA TODAY Sports M's catcher should be released for controversial tweets The Seattle Mariners suspended Steve Clevenger without pay for the remainder of the season, moving swiftly Friday to discipline their backup catcher after his set of tweets imploring that protestors in Charlotte should be “locked behind bars like animals.”

Clevenger, 30, who has played in just 22 games this season, issued an apology Thursday night for his tweets referring to protests in North Carolina following the fatal police shooting of an African American. He will not appeal his suspension, according to a person with direct knowledge of the issue. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the matter is ongoing.

Clevenger’s tweets read:

“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!

“BLM (Black Lives Matter) is pathetic again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone should be locked behind bars like animals!”

The Mariners issued a statement Thursday condemning the tweets, with general manager Jerry Dipoto noting the club is “examining all internal options available to us.”

Clevenger was making a non-guaranteed $517,000 this season; he would be eligible for salary arbitration in 2017. His suspension could be appealed by the Major League Baseball Players’ Association. For now, the suspension will cost him around $32,000. A lifetime .227 hitter in 170 games over six seasons, Clevenger batted .221 with one home run this season. He's best known for being included in trades that sent eventual ace Jake Arrieta from the Baltimore Orioles to the Chicago Cubs, and slugger Mark Trumbo from the Mariners the Orioles this past off-season.

Demonstrators in Charlotte have been protesting the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was shot and killed by police. Two officers and nine civilians were injured and 44 people arrested on Wednesday in several hours of violence that broke out following peaceful protests, prompting Gov. Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency.

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