Kevin Mather, you’re fired.
Another supposedly intelligent individual with a high ranking position in a major corporation, this time a major league baseball team, makes us shake our heads yet again and wonder how someone of such reported intellect and savvy could be so stunningly foolish.
Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather wasn’t given any real choice when he handed in his resignation on Monday 2/22, and in the end, it wasn’t the Mariners who terminated him. It was Mather himself who pulled the cord and plummeted to unemployment. Again, as we have seen far too often and seemingly every day, it’s because he started talking before his brain was in gear.
Complaining in an open forum that people you hired, and supposedly have respect for, can’t “properly speak English”, reveals much more than a desire for linguistic equality. Revealing the inner workings of the service time issue for players, which the Players Association has always known the owners manipulate for their advantage and to the players detriment, could not have been more boneheaded. What should have been kept private and dealt with in an professional manner within the organization becomes a flashpoint that speaks to an underlying problem with either the individual, the organization, or both.
It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time Mather put himself in the hot water tank, having been accused not once but twice of inappropriate behavior towards female employees. The Mariners covered for him then, but they couldn’t cover for him now. Not only had this latest episode of motormouth left the club in a tight situation, it roiled its way to the MLB Players Union and what they considered, rightfully so, an expose´ of how ownership views players. The nest was shaken with a massive stick, and no one could put those hornets back to bed.
Mather had to go. Without haste. He was a high powered face of the Mariners brand, and as such, the stakes and the bar are higher. Organizations that deal with the consumer and rely on those loyal dollars to survive have long put their people on notice on learning how to present themselves and the company.
The simple fact here is that a good portion of the Mariners fan base heard Mather, and saw the Mariners organization as approving of his words. If they didn’t know about his issues with female employees prior to this, they sure knew now. It’s a damaging effect that could not be erased and would have incurred far reaching effects if shoveled into the bilge.
The Mariners, as any corporation should, also considered the cavalier manner with which one of their highest ranking members of management talked about their organization in public, and had to wonder if this was an isolated incident, (not likely), or a pattern of verbal arrogance, (more likely). In that case, no matter what was said, a call had to be made about whether someone with this in their nature is worthy of representing the brand. If someone is this careless, what could be next? What else has he said in private moments that would be as equally or more disparaging?
Why do we want someone like this working for us? Let’s be honest and admit that when someone keeps making such avoidable gaffes and has a history of trying to simply apologize it away, as Mather had done in this circumstance, time comes when lockers need to be cleaned out once and for all.
People such as Mather are always making appearances at local organizations to rally support, or in the case of a sports franchise, stoke the fire for more ticket sales and sponsorship dollars. The Bellevue Rotary Club represents any one of a million similar organizations across the country that are always clamoring for the powerful to show and address them in between coffee and pastry. They are the local business backbone, and their support, while often not in the millions of dollars, adds up to a level of fan and financial support organizations such as the Mariners cannot exist without.
Same thing goes on a smaller scale, perhaps even more critical. The Mariners are monstrous enough to where they will likely, and eventually, shake this off with the personnel change and a few well-placed marketing gimmicks and offers. Smaller businesses are often not so lucky. One hit, and the next thing it’s posting virtual storefront signs that read “Everything Must Go!”
Kevin Mathers is disgraced and out, as he should be. The question then becomes, how long will it take for the next supposedly intelligent and highly paid individual to open mouth and insert foot with words that carry weight and reveal someone’s true nature?
Don’t look at the clock. It’s happening somewhere right now as we discuss. Let’s hope someone reading this, about to make the same mistake, doesn’t figuratively boot the ball in what should always be an easy play.