White Sox Shortstop Tim Anderson said Josh Donaldson, who was named to the Yankees, made a racist and disrespectful statement to him on the field on Saturday, prompting the seats to be removed in the Yankees’ 7-5 win on the field on Saturday.
Sources said the MLB was investigating the incident on Saturday night.
“Disrespectful comment. He tried calling me Jackie Robinson, you know “what’s up, Jackie”. I don’t play like that. “I don’t play at all,” Anderson told reporters after the match. “I wasn’t really going to bother anyone today, but he made the comment and it was, you know, disrespectful. And I don’t think he was called. It wasn’t necessary.”
Donaldson said he thought it was a joke, referring to a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview Anderson was quoted as saying, “I kind of feel like Jackie Robinson today.” Anderson was referring to breaking the “fun barrier”.
“I called him Jackie,” Donaldson said. “So let me give you a little context for that. In 2019, he came out with the interview saying he’s baseball’s new Jackie Robinson. He’s going to bring the fun back into the game. Right? And in 2019 when I played for Atlanta, we were kidding about it.” [in] the game. I don’t know what changed from [then] …and I have said it to him in years past, and not in any way, [other] Just kidding because he calls himself Jackie Robinson.
“So, if something changes from that, the meaning I mean for this is not any term trying to be racist by any fact of the matter.”
Donaldson said he would apologize if Anderson felt he was racist and would talk to him if Anderson was open about him. He said he hoped the interview that followed would convey his explanation to Anderson. Donaldson said he spoke with some of his teammates. He was seen talking in the bunker with captain Aaron Judge after the seats were cleaned and things settled down.
“Immediately after the interview, he called himself that and we said it before [and] We joke about it. Laugh whatever. As you can tell, in our series we played, there are a few times I’ve tried to defuse the situation. “I took responsibility for the tag, and I wasn’t trying to do anything there,” Donaldson said, referring to an incident where the Yankees were in Chicago last week. “Like today and trying to defuse it just like hey, like, make the light like, hi, we’re not trying to start any fights or anything like that.
“Obviously he considered it disrespectful, and if he did, I apologise. That is not what I was trying to do in any way.”
However, Anderson and White Sox manager Tony La Russa see it as a racist comment Donaldson made when he was on base in the second half.
“He made a racist comment, Donaldson. That’s all I’m going to say,” said La Rosa.
Anderson agreed with his manager.
“Same thing, on the same line,” Anderson said.
When asked how he contained it at that moment, Anderson said he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know to be honest. He was very respectful. I don’t want to play like this,” Anderson said.
At the end of the third inning, when Donaldson was back on base, he and Anderson had words. Yankees III base coach Luis Rojas removed Donaldson and Chief Referee Greg Gibson approached to make sure he did not escalate.
On the fifth, when Donaldson walked to the board, Yasmane Grandal wouldn’t allow him to step into the box before he caught a nose and started screaming at him. This led to the appearance of benches and cages of bulls working on the board.
It was a comment he made. This game has had a period of time where a lot of those comments were made and I think we’re way past that. Grandall said. “I thought it was a low blow and I will make sure to support my team. There is no way you are allowed to say something like that, it is unacceptable.”
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Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he wasn’t sure what was said.
“I know there has been some talk about it,” Boone said when telling La Rosa that Donaldson was accused of making a racist comment. “But I have to go in and get to the bottom of it.”
“The jaw has to stop back and forth,” Boone added.
Anderson and Donaldson had a final on-court encounter in the seventh inning when it seemed like something had been said and the Yankee DH was seen laughing at himself as he ran off the field.
“Obviously there have been a couple of instances where he tried to face my face and say other words to me and it still happened,” Donaldson said. “That’s why after I slipped to second base, I kind of looked at him after he said something to me. I’m like, OK, I just, I just laughed. I had enough.”
Anderson and Donaldson clashed last week when the Yankees were in Chicago after a special body mark at third base in a mini-game that ended with the seats removed, but no punches were thrown. Last season, when he was with the twins, Donaldson infuriated the White Sox with comments about Lucas Giolito and illegal substances that pitchers were banned from using during that season.
The two teams have two games remaining in the regular season. They will play double headers on Sunday.
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