Josh Donaldson received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine by Major League Baseball on Monday for his inappropriate comments during Saturday’s game against the White Sox.
“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, ”said Michael Hill, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for on-field operations. “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. “
The suspension of Donaldson – who was also placed on the COVID-19 injured list Monday – had been scheduled to be effective Monday night, when the Yankees are hosting the Baltimore Orioles. However, Donaldson has elected to appeal. Thus, the discipline will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.
The Yankees third baseman was disciplined for his actions that led to a benches-clearing incident at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, when the White Sox took offense to what they believe was a racially charged comment made by Donaldson.
Donaldson acknowledged that he twice referred to White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson as “Jackie,” claiming that he was referring to a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview in which Anderson – who is Black – said he feels like “today’s Jackie Robinson.”
Anderson took offense, saying: “He made a disrespectful comment. [Donaldson] basically tried to call me Jackie Robinson, like, ‘What’s up, Jackie?’ I do not play like that. I do not need to play at all. I was not really bothering [anybody] today, but he made the comment and it was disrespectful. ”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said that Donaldson “made a racist comment, and that’s all I’m going to say.”
Donaldson first made the comment while on base in the second inning; Anderson and Donaldson then exchanged words in the third and were promptly separated. Anderson told his teammates what Donaldson said, which sparked the situation between Donaldson and White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal when Donaldson came to bat in the fifth.
“This game went through a period of time where a lot of those comments were made, and I think we’s way past that. It’s just unacceptable, ”Grandal said. “I thought it was a low blow, and I’m going to make sure I’ve got my team back. There’s no way you’re allowed to say something like that. It’s unacceptable. ”
Donaldson said that Saturday was not the first time he referred to Anderson as “Jackie.” Donaldson claimed that he did so in 2019, when he was a member of the Braves.
In the May 6, 2019, Sports Illustrated article, Anderson told Stephanie Apstein that he felt a responsibility to help break what he called baseball’s “have-fun barrier.”
“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson,” Anderson said in the interview. “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 where I need to change the game. ”
Tensions have been high between Anderson and Donaldson since a game at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field on May 13, when both benches cleared after Anderson shoved Donaldson following a first-inning play at third base. Donaldson said that he intended for his comment to neutralize that animosity.