On Saturday at Yankee Stadium in New York City, Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson accused New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson of issuing a racially charged remark toward the black professional baseball player, but Donaldson insisted his comment was not meant to be derogatory and apologized after the game.
During the third inning, Anderson was heading toward the visitor’s dugout when he began talking back and forth with Donaldson. The Yankees’ third-baseman called Donaldson “Jackie,” in reference to Jackie Robinson, at one point during that conversation. That led to a heated moment between the two men, and in the fifth inning, both benches cleared when Anderson came up to bat.
“He just made a disrespectful comment,” Anderson said after the game. “Basically he was trying to call me Jackie Robinson. ‘What’s up, Jackie?’ I don’t play like that. I don’t really play at all. I wasn’t really going to bother nobody today, but he made the comment and, you know, it was disrespectful, and I don’t think it was called for. It was unneccesary.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa slammed Donaldson for the remark.
“He made a racist comment, Donaldson, and that’s all I’m going to say. That’s as strong as it gets,” La Russa told the press.
Donaldson, who admitted to calling Anderson “Jackie,” defended himself while saying that it was all a misunderstanding. Donaldson claimed that the comment was in “reference to a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated in which Anderson described himself as feeling like ‘today’s Jackie Robinson’ in how he’s ‘getting to a point where I need to change the game,’” ESPN reported.
“My meaning of that is not any term trying to be racist by any fact of the matter,” Donaldson said. “Obviously, he deemed it disrespectful. And look, if he did, I apologize. That’s not what I was trying to do by any manner and that’s what happened.”
White Sox players were clearly angry at the comment, and a fight almost occurred later on in the game.
“In the fifth inning of Saturday’s game, White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal stood up from his crouch and began jawing at Donaldson as he approached the plate,” ESPN added. “The barking continued as relievers ran in from the bullpens and the benches emptied, with La Russa also yelling at Donaldson.”
“Believe me, you don’t want me to tell you guys what I told him,” Grandal said after the game.
“This game went through a period in time where a lot of those comments were meant, and I think we’re way past that,” he added. “And it’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow and I want to make sure I’ve got my team’s back. There’s no way that you’re allowed to say something like that.”
The Yankees won the game 7-5.