Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather resigned Monday over what is being called “inappropriate and “disturbing comments” aimed at the English-speaking ability of some players on his own team.
Mather was called on the carpet after audio emerged of an address he gave to a local Seattle Rotary Club in which he reportedly made fun of the way some of his players speak English, TMZ Sports reported.
Close to the end of Mather’s time with the Rotary Club members, he was asked about outfielder Julio Rodriguez, who is from the Dominican Republic. Mather ribbed the player saying, “He is loud; his English is not tremendous.”
Mather also hit up his “bad English” theme when speaking of the team’s Dominican academy and educational programs, saying, “Surprise, surprise! They’d get in trouble because they wouldn’t know how to speak the language or make change or even buy dinner.”
In another segment, he called pitcher Marco Gonzales “very boring,” even as he is delivering “good numbers.”
Finally, Mather took a jab at recently hired special assignment coach Hisashi Iwakuma who Mather did not appreciate having to hire an interpreter to translate for him on the job. Mather said, “I’m tired of paying [Iwakuma’s] interpreter.” And added, “His English suddenly got better when we told him that.”
The player’s union was not amused by the comments and put out a statement calling Mather’s address “highly disturbing.”
The Major League Baseball Players Association today issued the following statement with regard to recent remarks made by Seattle Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather: pic.twitter.com/xjqqUmBqbS
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) February 22, 2021
Mather quickly put out a statement saying, “There is no excuse for my behavior, and I take full responsibility for my terrible lapse in judgment.”
But it was not enough to save his job. A short time later, the team issued a statement telling fans that Mather had resigned:
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) February 22, 2021
Mather was promoted to Mariners president and CEO in 2017 but had worked for the team since 1996.
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