Josh Donaldson, the Yankees’ third baseman, has issued a statement following his suspension for making “disrespectful” statements to White Sox pitcher Tim Anderson last weekend. Donaldson referred to Anderson as “Jackie,” a reference to Jackie Robinson that Donaldson said was an inside joke at the time.
Here’s Donaldson’s full statement:
MLB fined Donaldson and banned him for one game. He then said that the discussion was a “miscommunication” and that he “certainly meant no disrespect.” He also expressed regret to Jackie’s wife, Rachel Robinson, and the rest of the Robinson family.
First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball. I stated over the weekend that I apologized for offending Tim and that it was a misunderstanding based on multiple exchanges between us over the years. My view of that exchange hasn’t changed and I absolutely meant no disrespect. In the past, it had never been an issue and now that it is, we have a mutual understanding.
In the aftermath of the comment and benches-clearing incident, Donaldson’s teammate, Aaron Judge, even came out publicly to criticize Donaldson.
I would also like to apologize to Mrs. Rachel Robinson and the Jackie Robinson family for any distress this incident may have caused. Jackie was a true American hero and I hold his name in the highest regard.
Donaldson’s “Jackie” comment stemmed from a Sports Illustrated article in which Anderson said he feels like Robinson. The deeper context, of course, is that Anderson feels alone and isolated as one of the few Black American players in Major League Baseball. Donaldson originally said the comment was an inside joke between the two, but White Sox closer Liam Hendriksnoted that “usually you have inside jokes with the people you get along with, not people that don’t get along at all.”
In the days since this all went down, Anderson has said that Donaldson first called him, “Jackie” in 2019 and that Anderson replied by saying to never talk to him again.
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