Tim Anderson Calls Josh Donaldson’s ‘Jackie’ Comments Racist

White Sox Manager Tony La Russa didn’t mince his words when asked what happened on Saturday between Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson and Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson.

“He made a racist remark,” La Russa said of Donaldson. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

Shortly after the Yankees defeated Chicago 7-5 at Yankee Stadium, Donaldson, who is white, admitted to calling Anderson, who is black, “Jackie” in the first inning. Anderson said it happened twice in the match. Anderson found the reference to Jackie Robinson, who broke the Major League Baseball color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, as “disrespectful” before agreeing with his manager that the comment was racist.

“Actually, he was trying to call me Jackie Robinson,” Anderson said. “He was like, ‘Hey, what’s up Jackie?’ “I don’t play like that. I actually don’t play at all. I really didn’t want to bother anyone today, but he made the comment, and you know, it was disrespectful and I don’t think it was necessary. It was not necessary.”

Anderson and Donaldson exchanged words on the field early in the game. The situation escalated in the fifth inning when White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal confronted Donaldson when he stepped into the batter’s box. Grandal, pointing to Anderson at the short stop, came face to face with Donaldson and the benches emptied. Driving in for a short time, Anderson was stopped by teammates and kept away from Donaldson. No blows were dealt.

“This game went through a period where a lot of those comments were meant to be, and I think we’re well past that,” Grandal said after the game. “It’s just unacceptable. I thought it was a minor blow, and I want to make sure I have my team back. It’s impossible to say such a thing.

“Believe me, you don’t want me to tell you what I told him.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he needed to understand Chicago’s accusation before commenting further. Major League Baseball will investigate the situation, per Newsday’s Laura Albanian

Meanwhile, Donaldson said he’s been calling Anderson “Jackie” for years. He claimed it was a long-running joke between them, stemming from a 2019 Sports Illustrated article in which Anderson said, “I feel a bit like today’s Jackie Robinson.”

Anderson spoke of his desire to introduce more personality and flair into traditionally reserved baseball culture, an effort that Anderson has encountered occasional resistance throughout his career.

“So the first inning I called him ‘Jackie’. Let me give you a little context on that,” Donaldson began. “In 2019 he came out with an interview, he said he’s baseball’s new Jackie Robinson and he’s going to bring back fun for the game, right? In 2019, when I played for Atlanta, we were actually joking there. about in-game.

“I don’t know what has changed, and I’ve told him about it over the years. No way but just joking about calling himself Jackie Robinson. So if any of that has changed – my meaning of that is in no way trying to be racist by a fact of the matter. It was like out of an interview.”

Donaldson added: “Of course he thought it was disrespectful. And look, if he did, my apologies. That’s in no way what I was trying to do.”

There was no humor to be found for Anderson.

“That happened in the first, the first time he got in, and I saved him that time,” Anderson said. “And then it happened again. It’s just inappropriate.”

Donaldson said he would be open to a private conversation with Anderson. His characterization of the situation raised some eyebrows, however, as Anderson and the White Sox haven’t had a good recent history with Donaldson. Last week, Anderson made an exception to a physical tag from Donaldson when the teams played in Chicago. When attempting a pick-off at third base, Donaldson pushed Anderson off the bag, which eventually resulted in a safe call. This resulted in an altercation and a modest bench clearing.

Donaldson also had run-ins with the White Sox in 2021 while a member of the Twins, who, like Chicago, play in the American League Central. In one such matchup, Donaldson homered to White Sox trump card Lucas Giolito. As Donaldson crossed home plate, he was heard yelling, “Hands no longer sticky,” a nod to MLB’s crackdown on pitchers who used foreign substances.

Afterwards, Giolito called Donaldson a “tease” and said that if the infielder had a problem with him, he should say it to his face. Donaldson then told reporters that he confronted Giolito in the parking lot of the stadium.

On Saturday, Donaldson said he took responsibility for last week’s tag on Anderson and tried to “lighten” the lingering tension in an effort to defuse things. “We’re not trying to start fights or anything like that,” Donaldson said.

The White Sox, who closed their regular season series with the Yankees with a Sunday doubleheader, didn’t see it that way.

“He lives in his own world,” Grandal said of Donaldson while also bringing up the dispute with Giolito.

“I’m sure any other team would have reacted the same way. As I said, such a comment is simply unacceptable.”

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