Chicago White Sox Shortstop Tim Anderson felt the sting of racism in baseball when New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson called him “Jackie,” as in Robinson.
“Basically he was trying to call me Jackie Robinson,” Anderson said in a postgame media scrum per NBC Sports Chicago. “‘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.”
Donaldson was the designated hitter, and after Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa ended the third inning in the Bronx, Anderson said that’s when Donaldson “made a disrespectful comment.”
“Jackie” Claps Back
“It happened the first time he got on [in the second inning] and I spared him that time,” Anderson continued to The Chicago Tribune. “And it happened again. And it was just uncalled for.”
Then Donaldson and White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal had an exchange in the fifth inning, which resulted in emptying the dugouts and bullpens.
Donaldson reportedly said he called Anderson “Jackie” based on a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview where Anderson said he felt like “today’s Jackie Robinson” and that he was “getting to a point where I need to change the game.”
When The Team Has Your Back
Grandal weighed in about the on-field melee.
“What sparked it was a comment he made,” Grandal said to the Chicago Tribune. “This game went through a period of time where a lot of those comments were made, and I think we’re way past that. It’s just unacceptable.”
“Thought it was a low blow and I’m going to make sure I’ve got my team’s back. There’s no way you’re allowed to say something like that. It’s unacceptable.”
Anderson didn’t think it would be a problem as he’s reportedly “joked around” with the Jackie Robinson reference to Anderson in the past.
The Donaldson Explanation
“First inning, I called him ‘Jackie,’” Donaldson said during the postgame scrum. “Let me you give a little context. 2019, he came out with an interview that he said he was the new Jackie Robinson of baseball, he’s going to bring back fun for the game, right? In 2019 when I played for Atlanta, we actually joked about that…
“I don’t know what’s changed from (then) and I’ve said it to him from years past, not in any manner than just joking around. So the fact that he called himself Jackie Robinson.”
Donaldson continued to explain his naivete.
Not Your Jackie Robinson
“If something has changed from that, my meaning of that is not any term trying to be racist by any fact of the matter. It was just off of an interview of what he called himself and when we said that before, we joked about it, he laughed. As you can tell in our series that we’ve played, there are times when I’ve tried to defuse the situation.
“I took responsibility for the tag [on May 13 at Guaranteed Rate Field]. I wasn’t trying to do anything there. Today just trying to defuse it like make light, like, hey, we’re not trying to start any brawls or anything like that. Obviously he deemed that it was disrespectful, and if he did, I apologize. That’s not what I was trying to do by any manner.”
Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa weighed in.
“He made a racist comment, Donaldson, and that’s all I’m going to say,” La Russa said postgame to the media. “That’s as strong as it gets.”