Major League Baseball suspended New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson one game for making “inappropriate comments” to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson during a game over the weekend. Shortly before the punishment was announced, the Yankees put Donaldson on the COVID-19 injured list. The 36-year-old Donaldson, who also was fined an undisclosed amount for the incident, is appealing the punishment. He will be eligible to play for the Yankees until the appeal process concludes.
Michael Hill, the league’s senior vice president for on-field operations, said in a statement: “MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incidentThere is no dispute over what was said on the field. 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. In addition, Mr. Donaldson’s remark was a contributing factor in a bench-clearing incident between the teams, and warrants discipline.”
After Saturday’s game between the Yankees and White Sox, Donaldson acknowledged that he called Anderson “Jackie” in the first inning — a reference to Jackie Robinson, who broke MLB’s color barrier in 1947. Donaldson apologized for the comment and said he meant no disrespect; however Anderson, who is Black, took offense to Donaldson’s comment, saying it was “disrespectful” and “unnecessary.” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said after the game that he believed Donaldson’s comment was “racist.”
Donaldson, who is White, said his “Jackie” comment was in reference to a 2019 interview Anderson gave Sports Illustrated, in which he described himself as feeling like “today’s Jackie Robinson”. Donaldson noted that he had “joked around” with Anderson about the reference in the past. Yankees manager Aaron Boone agreed that he didn’t think Donaldson should have made the comment, saying: “I don’t believe there was any malicious intent in that regard. But you know, this is, just in my opinion, somewhere he should not be going.”
Editorial credit: 360b / Shutterstock.com