SEATTLE — Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather has resigned following a speech he gave on Feb. 5 to the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club that was considered by many inappropriate, controversial, and insulting.
"Like all of you, I was extremely disappointed when I learned of Kevin Mather's recent comments," said Mariners Chairman and Managing Partner John Stanton in a statement Monday. "His comments were inappropriate and do not represent our organization's feelings about our players, staff, and fans."
Mather's resignation is effective immediately. Stanton will serve as acting president and CEO until a successor is chosen.
The speech by Mather briefly surfaced on YouTube Sunday and was reportedly up for less than an hour before it was pulled down by the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club.
Mather voiced his opinion about a number of team issues, including his thoughts on the English of one Mariners prospect from the Dominican Republic, third baseman Kyle Seager’s salary and his feelings about former pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. Mather said the pitcher was great but his English was terrible and that he was tired of paying for his interpreter.
Mather's comments left a bad taste in the mouths of Mariners fans, who felt it doesn't make sense to insult the people who have to play the game and represent the organization.
"That is stupid. The players make the team," said fan Ed Lewis. "Without the players, we wouldn't have a team, for the past four, five years, maybe longer than that, we didn't have a team."
The hashtag #FireKevinMather was trending Monday, and once the news of his resignation surfaced, it seemed to be welcome news among fans. Now some hope this will be an opportunity to bring some new blood into the Mariners front office.
"I think it's time to get a younger person there that loves the team, that's got respect for the team, and be behind the team, 100%," said Lewis.
The Mariners released a statement from Mather shortly after the speech was made public but before Mather resigned. The statement said:
"I want to apologize to every member of the Seattle Mariners organization, especially our players and to our fans. There is no excuse for my behavior, and I take full responsibility for my terrible lapse in judgement.
My comments were my own. They do not reflect the views and strategy of the Mariners baseball leadership who are responsible for decisions about the development and status of the players at all levels of the organization.
I’ve been on the phone most of the day today apologizing to the many people I have insulted, hurt, or disappointed in speaking at a recent online event.
I am committed to make amends for the things I said that were personally hurtful and I will do whatever it takes to repair the damage I have caused to the Seattle Mariners organization."
The full speech can be seen here.