MLB Suspends Yankees Third Baseman Over ‘Inappropriate Comments’ Toward White Sox Shortstop On Saturday
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees looks on prior to the game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, May 22, 2022 in New York, New York.
(Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Major League Baseball has suspended New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson over what the league says were “inappropriate comments” toward Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson during Saturday’s game between the two teams.

On Saturday, The Daily Wire reported that Donaldson called Anderson “Jackie” in reference to Jackie Robinson. Anderson took offense — and his manager, Tony La Russa, as well as his teammates believed that Donaldson’s comments were racially motivated. The two teams nearly fought later in the game when Donaldson came up to bat. After a review, MLB announced on Monday that Donaldson would be suspended and would be forced to pay an undisclosed fine.

“MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident,” the league said in a statement. “There 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.”

On Saturday, Anderson told reporters after the game that Donaldson’s were “unnecessary.”

“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 unnecessary.”

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.”

While the suspension was scheduled to start Monday night, Donaldson appealed the suspension and “the discipline will be held in abeyance until the process is complete,” MLB added in its press release.

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