While many see the protests seeking justice for Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the latest evidence of why the movement for black lives is necessary, Seattle Mariners catcher Steve Clevenger isn’t one of them.
According to USA Today, Clevenger chimed in on the unrest in Charlotte on Twitter, mocking the seriousness of the circumstances in fewer than 280 characters:
Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer haha shit cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!
BLM is pathetic once again! Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals!
To Clevenger, who has since made his Twitter account private, the issue wasn’t that Scott is one of at least 2,195 people who have been killed by police since Mike Brown, 18, was killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson two years ago, or that a disproportionately high percentage of those killed were black. Based on Clevenger’s logic, police violence is apparently a non-issue and protesters are the ones to blame for the unrest.
Clevenger made every weak association he could to mock the protesters and the situation. He implied that black people are inherently criminal via the false reality that there is an epidemic of black people attacking white people. He called the victim a "thug." He said Scott had a gun while disregarding that North Carolina is an open carry state. On top of all that, he said protesters should be "locked behind bars like animals," drawing more on the notion that they are simply inherent criminals.
Yet Clevenger’s tweets only prove why the unrest is necessary: More energy is often put into acting like police violence isn’t a problem than into redressing the racial disparities in policing that cause the unrest in the first place.
The Mariners’ general manager, Jerry Dipoto, issued a statement that said the team respects Clevenger’s First Amendment rights, while making clear that Clevenger’s opinions do not represent those of the team, who "strongly disagree with the language and tone of his comments."
Clevenger has since issued an apology for his "worded beyond poorly" tweets, noting that he was "sickened by the idea that anyone would think of [him] in racist terms." Too bad he, like many other Black Lives Matters critics, aren’t equally disgusted by the racism fueling the protests they are all too quick to invalidate.