Kevin Mather, president and CEO of the Seattle Mariners, has resigned from his position on Monday after the comments he made to a Rotary Club earlier this month surface online. Mather received backlash for the comments, and Mariners chairman and manager partner John Stanton said he "was extremely disappointed" when learning about the incident.
"His comments were inappropriate and do not represent our organization's feelings about our players, staff, and fans," Stanton said, as reported by ESPN. "There is no excuse for what was said, and I won't try to make one. I offer my sincere apology on behalf of the club and my partners to our players and fans. We must be, and do, better. We have a lot of work to do to make amends, and that work is already underway."
Mather made the comments at the Bellevue Rotary Club on Feb. 5, and the comments were posted online over the weekend. He spoke about former Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma - who was hired by the team as a special assignment coach in January - and his need for a translator as well as his English speaking skills.
"For instance, we just rehired Iwakuma; he was a pitcher with us for a number of years. Wonderful human being; his English was terrible," Mather said. "He wanted to get back into the game; he came to us. We quite frankly want him as our Asian scout/interpreter, what's going on with the Japanese league. He's coming to spring training." Mather went on to say that he was "tired of paying his interpreter" and "his English got better" when they told Iwakuma they had to pay $75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him.
Mather also talked about minor league outfielder Julio Rodriguez, saying he "has got a personality bigger than all of you combined. He is loud. His English is not tremendous." On Sunday, Mather apologized for the comments.
"I want to apologize to every member of the Seattle Mariners organization, especially our players and to our fans," Mather said in a statement. "There is no excuse for my behavior, and I take full responsibility for my terrible lapse in judgment. 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," he added. "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."