Josh Donaldson now finds himself in hot water in wake of a heated scene at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Benches cleared in the fifth inning of the White Sox-Yankees matinee matchup after Donaldson went nose-to-nose with Chicago catcher Yasmani Grandal. Sox shortstop Tim Anderson quickly entered the fray and needed to be restrained by his teammates.
Following New York’s 7-5 win, Anderson revealed he took offense to a comment made to him by Donaldson earlier in the game. The Yankees third baseman referred to Anderson, who is Black, as “Jackie,” a nod to Major League Baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson.
“He just made a disrespectful comment,” Anderson told reporters, per ESPN. “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 attached a much more straightforward label to what Donaldson said to Anderson.
“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 reporters.
Donaldson claims the comment was inspired by a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview in which Anderson explained how he felt like “today’s Jackie Robinson” in the big leagues. The 36-year-old insisted there was no racist intent behind what he said to Anderson and claimed the two have “joked around” about it in the past.
MLB now is looking into the incident, per ESPN. The Yankees and the White Sox will play a day-night doubleheader Sunday.