The Seattle Mariners promoted Kevin Mather to the role of president and CEO in 2017. In 2018, he apologized when it became public that he had been involved in multiple sexual harassment cases while working for the team that required settlements to two separate victims. It was an indictment of the backroom rich boys club that had so long been a part of baseball front offices, where harassers and offensive people were allowed to continue moving up the ranks simply because of who they were. It’s the kind of trend we saw repeated with the Houston Astros, New York Mets, and others.

Mather has skated by in the years but he’s back in the headlines again now that video from a call with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club has surfaced online. In the video, Mather talks flippantly about the people who work for the Mariners coupled with some casual racist barbs and a general disdain for MLB players.

Factal editor Joe Veyera watched the whole video and transcribed some of the standout bits.

One of the most notable instances was the way Mather discussed the team’s recent hiring of Hisashi Iwakuma, a Japanese former Mariners pitcher who returned to the club as a special assignment coach. Mather implies that Iwakuma may have been faking his inability to understand English in order to have an interpreter on staff, something that Mather says he did not appreciate paying for.

Mather also seemed to have concerns about the English-speaking ability of the team’s big prospect, Julio Rodriguez.

He also then talked very candidly about negotiation strategies with some of the players on the Mariners roster as well as any potential free agents. Most notably, he outright says that the team manipulated prospect Jarred Kelenic’s service time as part of their negotiation strategy with him.

Another strange moment comes when Mather candidly discusses not letting employees park close to the stadium but then hiring police to escort them through the local neighborhood, which he then degrades.

Perhaps you read these comments and think “well, they’re not that bad” compared to other things that have been said by sports executives. But Mather comes off exceedingly privileged and care-free in the way he throws players and employees under the bus. It’s hard not to think about many of these comments coming back to bite him when he needs to enter into player negotiations, especially with those from non-English-speaking countries.

We’d imagine Mather is going to have to answer for these comments one way or another. Many fans in the Mariners community who don’t see much value in what the CEO has done for the ballclub in his time as its leader are calling for him to be fired.

It does make you wonder what, exactly, Mather has going for him to keep his job if he’s just going to be a public embarrassment for the Mariners every few years. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since he’s been in charge and seems to be trending the wrong way once more. Not to mention, it really doesn’t sound like he learned his lesson in terms of how to treat others, especially those subordinate to you. And how many chances does a guy like this really need to get?

UPDATE: Mather resigned on Monday, per an announcement from the Mariners.

[Joe Veyera]

About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Curbed,, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.