“[Major League Baseball] MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident,” said Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president for on-field operations. “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.”
Donaldson is appealing the decision that also forfeited him an undisclosed amount. He will be allowed to participate in Yankees’ games until his appeal is settled, though he was recently placed on the COVID-19 injured list.
Josh Donaldson suspended by the MLB
Donaldson confessed that he referred to Anderson as “Jackie,” as in Jackie Robinson, who broke the league’s color barrier in 1947. He later apologized for the comments and revealed that he meant no harm with his first-inning comments.
Anderson, a Black man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said after the game that he was offended by Donaldson’s “disrespectful” and “unnecessary” reference.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa defended his star infielder, marking Donaldson’s comments as “racist.”
Donaldson stated that calling Anderson “Jackie” was a reference to the Chicago player’s comments in a 2019 interview, during which he labeled himself “today’s Jackie Robinson,” something Donaldson said he and Anderson had “joked around” about in the past.
Chicago’s pitching coach, Ethan Katz, wrote that the length of the suspension did not fit the crime in a since-deleted tweet .
“Just one game,” Katz said on Twitter. “We all saw his malice at third a week ago, then this comment with the ridiculous excuse that followed. What’s the point or message behind a 1 game suspension? This is incredibly disappointing and plain frustrating.”
The incident “at third a week ago” refers to a benches-clearing event, spurred by Donaldson’s hard tag on Anderson at third base. The Yankees’ third baseman used his body to block the base and push Anderson off of third, driving his knee into the White Sox infielder’s arm in the process.
Fallout from the “Jackie” comment
Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters that he did not believe Donaldson should have made the remark during Saturday’s game.
“I don’t believe there was any malicious intent in that regard,” Boone told reporters. “But you know, this is, just in my opinion, somewhere he should not be going.”
Donaldson’s history with the White Sox dates back past the “Jackie” remark and the hard tag a third; in 2021, as a member of the Minnesota Twins, he yelled “Not sticky anymore!” at Chicago pitcher Lucas Giolito shortly after the league emphasized pitchers not using sticky substances on the mound.
Giolito called Donaldson a “pest” after the incident.
The 36-year-old Donaldson is in his first year with the Yankees. He has hit .238 with five home runs and 15 RBIs for the American League leaders, who are 29-12 heading into a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles to start their workweek.
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