Tensions between Josh Donaldson and Tim Anderson had been simmering since last week, but the feud took a turn on Saturday when the White Sox claimed the Yankees’ slugger made a racist comment towards Anderson.
Donaldson admitted after the Yankees’ 7-5 win in the Bronx that he jokingly called Anderson “Jackie” — as he has done in the past, he said — referring to a 2019 Sports Illustrated story , in which Anderson referred to himself as “modern-day Jackie Robinson.” ”
Though Donaldson insisted the two had previously laughed about it, Anderson, who is black, didn’t take it as a joke on Saturday. He said Donaldson asked him, “What’s up, Jackie?” multiple times.
“If anything has changed , I don’t mean trying to be racist by any facts,” Donaldson said. “It was just from an interview, as he called himself. We’ve said this before, we joked about it. He was laughing whatever.”
But Anderson wasn’t laughing on Saturday.
“That’s not how I play,” Anderson said. “It happened the first time he got in and I let it go this time and it happened again. It’s just inappropriate. …I’ll never sleep this off.”
Major League Baseball was investigating the matter early Saturday night and was speaking to all relevant parties, according to a source. Depending on the outcome of this investigation, disciplinary action could potentially be imposed.
Donaldson said he called Anderson “Jackie” in Saturday’s first inning to defuse the situation after tensions between the two flared up in Chicago last weekend. They broke again in the third and fifth innings on Saturday when White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal had an extended confrontation with Donaldson at the plate that led to the benches and bullpens.
“Obviously he thought it was disrespectful,” Donaldson said. “Listen, if he did it, I apologize. No way did I try that. That really happened.”
Before Donaldson told reporters his side of the story, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he heard “some conversations” about what White Sox manager Tony La Russa called racist comment, but was still trying to get to the bottom of it walk.
Donaldson later said he explained the story of calling Anderson “Jackie” to some of his teammates. As for sharing that statement directly with Anderson, Donaldson said he would be “more than happy to speak to him,” but wasn’t sure the White Sox star would be willing to listen.
“There were a couple of times when he tried to look me in the face and try to say different words to me,” Donaldson said. “It just keeps happening. So after slipping into second base today [in the seventh inning], I just kind of looked at him after he said something to me and I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve had enough.’ I just laughed.”
As the final of the third inning wrapped, Donaldson rounded second base but quickly stopped to talk to Anderson. A week away from a dust cloud between the two in Chicago, sparked by Donaldson apparently shoving Anderson off his pocket during a pickoff attempt, the pair chirped at each other (Donaldson said Anderson threw profanity at him), before finally going their separate ways.
That set the stage for the bigger confrontation in the fifth inning. As Donaldson walked to the plate, Grandal confronted him with the “Jackie” comment. Anderson soon ran in from his post at shortstop before the benches and bullpens were cleared. The teams faced each other behind the plate, but the only action was Anderson being dragged away from the scene by his teammates.
The referees then issued warnings to both shelters, although tempers appear to have calmed from there.
“I thought it was a joke in between [Anderson] and I, because we’ve talked about it before,” Donaldson said. “As I said, let me mention again that his name is Jackie Robinson. So I thought it was funny between us.”
— Additional reporting by Zach Braziller
https://nypost.com/2022/05/22/yankees-josh-donaldson-jackie-was-long-running-joke/ Josh Donaldson of the Yankees: “Jackie” was an all-time favorite