The Tweet, the Outrage, the Response and the PR Apology
Yesterday, Mariners catcher and current DL denizen Steve Clevenger stepped in it big time. You probably heard about it. If not, read this tweet summarizing it all. I’ll wait.
Shit. Went. Down.
Clevenger has every right to pop off like an idiot (and I have every right to call him an idiot, too.) Things blew up on his timeline, on the Mariners timeline, everywhere. It was an ugly late morning / early afternoon, a needless distraction for a team fighting for the playoffs.
Of course, the team quickly issued a response.
For a response, it was terse, taut, and had the trappings of a team ready to throw Clevenger off onto DFA land as soon as they can at the end of the year. You can tell GM Jerry DiPoto saying, “Don’t worry, fans, he’s dead to us too. We just have to wait for the right time to put him in the back of the town car.”
UPDATE: Clevenger was suspended without pay by the Mariners for the rest of the season. Not the same as a release or a DFA…but the town car’s warmed up now and the goons are getting their track suits on…
Then, last night, Clevenger issued an apology. Of course he did.
It was typical crisis management by a professional sports organization. Also known as complete and utter horse hockey.
Clevenger really did step in it by not knowing his audience at all. I live in Washington state, and yes there are several areas east of the Cascades that are more likely to agree with his viewpoint. There are two cities that have had to re-do how they elect city officials due to shenanigans that limited (or eliminated) minority representation on the city council for cities that had a plurality of Latinos.
But the West Side, as we say, isn’t that way. Even the Republicans over there are more likely to be classic Mitt Romney types. Of course, I think there are maybe nine or ten of those in all of King County.
Also, this is an area that loves the Seahawks, and behind Russell Wilson the fan favorite is Richard Sherman. Need I say more?
So the outrage was real, and pointed. Not even the sports yakkers defended him.
The team’s statement basically said, “If we could, we’d release him right away…” It’s a lot easier to say that when it’s an injured backup catcher who was having a less-than-stellar season. Had it been one of the team’s stars, I think the response would have been a bit different. It would have been more “We’re going to send him to his room without any supper…”
Of course, i can’t imagine Kyle Seager even tweeting something that idiotic.
Remember Luke Scott? Luke Scott was basically a Bundy family member in major league baseball apparel. He seemed to be a birther and had Soverign Citizens tendencies, and said things publicly that were, um, questionable.
Scott barely caused a ripple, mainly because he was productive for his teams. “If we don’t say anything, no one will notice.” Hoo-boy.
Then there was the apology by “Clevenger.”
Written by Flack and Hokum, PR firm to Professional Sports.
There is more chance of Donald Trump carrying Philadelphia than that Steve Clevenger, moronic backup catcher, wrote that.
I get why teams and players issue these apologies. But my goodness, make them sound a little bit like someone who majored in baseball at SE Louisiana instead of a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop.
This isn’t an apology – it’s a hostage statement. How much you wanna bet Clevenger was told “If you don’t want to ride buses in the Midwest Detassling League until you’re 40, issue THIS statement”?
In some ways, the apology is more insulting than the tweet.
Look, athletes, like almost everyone, are going to open their mouths and say something abhorrent. We all do. When we do though, we apologize and it sounds like us. Whether we mean the apology or just say it to save face, it sounds like us.
Can’t pro sports teams craft fake apologies for players so that it sounds like it came from them? Really, is it that hard?
The apology should have been:
“I’m Steve Clevenger. I fucked up. I really want to keep playing baseball, so I’m saying I’m sorry.”
I could live with that. And the PR firms could concentrate on fake apologies for politicians and actors, instead.