Chicago White Sox star shortstop Tim Anderson has accused Yankees slugger Josh Donaldson of making a racist remark by calling him Jackie Robinson during Saturday’s game against New York.
“He just made a, you know, disrespectful comment,” said Anderson, who is black, “Basically he was trying to call me Jackie Robinson. Like, ‘What’s up, Jackie?’
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” Anderson added after New York’s 7-5 win at Yankee Stadium.
Major League Baseball is investigating the incident and speaking to those involved.
Anderson, a star who is among the leading black voices in baseball, told Sports Illustrated in 2019: “I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson…because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to an point where I need to change the game.”
Tim Anderson says Josh Donaldson called him “Jackie [Robinson]” pic.twitter.com/sk8R7HEJ7w
Donaldson said that in the first run, “I called him Jackie.” The white baseball player also said he had “joked” with Anderson in the past using the same reference and mentioned the Sports Illustrated interview from 2019.
“My sense of that is not a term trying to be racist by any fact,” Donaldson said. “Obviously he thought it was disrespectful,” he said. “And look, if he did, I apologize. That’s not what I was trying to do in any way and that’s what happened.”
Donaldson quit with Anderson on May 13 in Chicago after making a hard tag, and Anderson responded with a push, which resulted in the benches and relievers clearing. Donaldson said on Saturday he was “trying to defuse” any lingering tension when the players crossed paths early in the game.
Anderson said Donaldson jacked the first two innings: “I spared him that time, then it happened again.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa also called Donaldson’s comment “racist”, adding: “It’s as loud as it gets.”
In the third inning, Donaldson rounded second base after the final out and began chatting with Anderson as the teams exited the field. Donaldson was escorted off the field by Yankees manager Aaron Boone and Anderson was led away by third baseman coach Joe McEwing.
In the fifth, White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal rose from his squat and confronted Donaldson as he approached home plate.
“Believe me, you don’t want me to tell you what I told him,” Grandal told reporters.
The barking continued as relievers poured in from the bullpen and the benches emptied, with La Russa – a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame – also yelling at Donaldson.
“This game went through a period where a lot of that commentary was intended, and I think we’re way past that,” Grandal said after the game. “And that’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow and I want to make sure my team is back. There’s no way you’re allowed to say something like that. “
Boone said of the incident, “I know…some people are talking about it. I have to get to the bottom of it.”
Last season with Minnesota, Donaldson got into an argument with the White Sox when he appeared to shout “stickier” – a reference to substances pitchers use to control the ball – after hitting a home run against the ace of Chicago Lucas Giolito.