New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson was suspended by the MLB for one game after he directed “inappropriate comments” toward Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.
Anderson, who is Black, reported to media outlets after Saturday’s game that the Yankees player repeatedly called him “Jackie” in a disrespectful manner throughout the game. White Sox general manager Tony La Russa went on to confirm that Anderson the target of “a racist comment” made by Donaldson.
“He was trying to call me Jackie Robinson, like ‘What’s up, Jackie?'” Anderson said, detailing his experience with the fellow baseball player. “I don’t play like that. I wasn’t really bothering nobody today, but he made the comment and it was disrespectful. I don’t think it was called for. It was unnecessary.”
The occurrence happened when both teams’ benches cleared in the fifth inning. Following Donaldson and White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal’s verbal dispute at home plate, the two teams joined on the field. During the situation, the third baseman allegedly pointed at Anderson and made the comment, to which Anderson had to be restrained by his teammates from fighting back. Both teams were warned, but no one was ejected from the game.
Although he denied any racist intent behind the comment, Donaldson admitted in a locker room interview that he did call Anderson “Jackie.”
Josh Donaldson apologizes to Tim Anderson for disrespectful commentary
“We are not trying to start any brawls or anything like that,” he explained. “Obviously, he deemed it was disrespectful and look, if he did, I apologize because that’s not what I was trying to do by any matter.”
Continuing his explanation, Donaldson went on to describe his and Anderson’s history of joking around with one another. According to the 36-year-old, he was referencing Anderson’s 2019 Sports Illustrated. In 2019, the Chicago White Sox player told SI, “I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson. That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game.”
However, regardless of intention or personal background, MLB senior vice president for on-field operations Michael Hill acknowledged that Donaldson was disciplined for inappropriate comments.
“MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident. There is no dispute over what was said on the field,” Hill shared in a statement, according to CNN. “Regardless of Mr. Donaldson’s intent, the comment he directed toward Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and in poor judgment, particularly when viewed in the context of their prior interactions.”
The MLB representative also noted that the comment exacerbated the altercation between the two teams, stating that the athlete’s “remark was a contributing factor in a bench-clearing incident between the teams, and warrants discipline.”
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