The Yankee Way | Josh Donaldson Apologizes To Tim Anderson, Jackie Robinson’s Family

The Yankee Way | Josh Donaldson Apologizes To Tim Anderson, Jackie Robinson’s Family

New York Yankees infielder Josh Donaldson formally apologized for his controversial remarks towards Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson that involved a reference to Jackie Robinson, which Donaldson deemed a joke, but nobody else in the MLB community found funny.

Donaldson, who received a one game suspension and an undisclosed fine from Major League Baseball that remains under appeal, also apologized to the Robinson family.

“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,” in his statement.

Donaldson appears to have recognized the insensitivity of his trash talk as a poor attempt at humor.  The Yankees third baseman also wrote that he and Anderson now have a “mutual understanding” about the context of his using Robinson while mocking him during on-field chatter that is routine among players, but apparently crossed the line, leading to a benches-clearing melee’ on May 21 at Yankee Stadium.

“First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball,” Donaldson wrote. “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 a 2019 Sports Illustrated article, Anderson referred to himself as the Jackie Robinson of this generation of Black American baseball players and stated that many of the things Robinson endured, Anderson and other Black ballplayers are still facing today.  He also said that he was trying to bring fun back to the game. 

Anderson has proven to have the last laugh in big moments in nationally televised games against the Yankees.  His walk-off homerun in last season’s Field of Dreams game was the difference last July.  Last Sunday his three-run home run in the Bronx capped the doubleheader sweep as Yankee fans showered him with a chorus of “Jackie, Jackie, Jackie” as he rounded the bases.

Josh Donaldson Suspended One Game and Fined For Inappropriate Comments | Jackie Is No Joke

Josh Donaldson Suspended One Game and Fined For Inappropriate Comments | Jackie Is No Joke

New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson has received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his inappropriate comments during Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.  Michael Hill, Major League Baseball’s Senior Vice President for On-Field Operations, made the announcement.

Donaldson started a melee of sorts when he referred to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, who is Black, as “Jackie” (Robinson) several times during the game. Anderson didn’t take kindly to the comment, which Donaldson says afterwards was an inside joke between them. Anderson, who referred to himself as the new Jackie Robinson as far as bringing excitement and diversity to the game is concerned, denies agreeing to these kinds of shenanigans with Anderson. Legendary manager Tony LaRussa straight up called Donaldson’s comments “racist.” His Latin teammate, catcher Yasmani Grandale also defended Anderson, getting up in Donaldson’s face.

Hill said: “MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident.  There is no dispute over what was said on the field.  Regardless of Mr. Donaldson’s intent, the comment he directed toward Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and in poor judgment, particularly when viewed in the context of their prior interactions.  In addition, Mr. Donaldson’s remark was a contributing factor in a bench-clearing incident between the teams, and warrants discipline.”

The suspension of Donaldson had been scheduled to be effective tonight, when the Yankees are to host the Baltimore Orioles. However, Donaldson has elected to appeal.  Thus, the discipline will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.