Tony La Russa Says Yankees' Josh Donaldson Made Racist Comment to Tim Anderson

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 21, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 21: Jose Abreu #79 holds back Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox after a benches-clearing dispute between Yasmani Grandal #24 of the Chicago White Sox (not pictured) and Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees (not pictured) during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said that New York Yankees designated hitter Josh Donaldson directed a racist comment toward White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.

Following his team's 7-5 defeat Saturday, La Russa told reporters that Donaldson "made a racist comment." He declined to provide any further details, saying the allegation was "as strong as it gets."

White Sox Talk @NBCSWhiteSox

Tony La Russa alleges Josh Donaldson made a racist comment towards Tim Anderson. Declined to comment further. <a href="https://t.co/PAWlac6Y0D">pic.twitter.com/PAWlac6Y0D</a>

Anderson said that Donaldson called him "Jackie," referring to baseball legend Jackie Robinson. He added he concurred with La Russa's description of the remark as "racist."

White Sox Talk @NBCSWhiteSox

Tim Anderson says Josh Donaldson referred to him as "Jackie [Robinson]" <a href="https://t.co/sk8R7HEJ7w">pic.twitter.com/sk8R7HEJ7w</a>

Donaldson confirmed the allegation and said he was referencing a remark Anderson made in 2019.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein, Anderson said, "I kind of feel like today's Jackie Robinson," referencing his individual flair, which is largely frowned upon in MLB.

Donaldson told reporters he had joked with Anderson about the remarks when he played with Atlanta in 2019 and his team faced Chicago. The 2015 American League MVP said he was not "trying to be racist" and apologized.

Yankees Videos @snyyankees

Josh Donaldson admits he called Tim Anderson "Jackie" on the field today: <a href="https://t.co/eko1UaR3Nt">pic.twitter.com/eko1UaR3Nt</a>

Lindsey Adler @lindseyadler

Josh Donaldson says he called Tim Anderson “Jackie” during today’s game, referencing a quote from Anderson in a 2019 story. Donaldson said he felt the self-reference had been a joke between the two of them in the past.

According to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, MLB is already looking into the matter.

In the bottom of the fifth inning as Donaldson was preparing to bat, White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal began talking to Donaldson and appeared to point toward Anderson at short. The benches cleared, and Anderson was held back and brought to the dugout by teammates Jose Abreu and Gavin Sheets.

White Sox Talk @NBCSWhiteSox

Grandal and Donaldson exchanged words at home plate, benches cleared, TA had to be restrained 😳 <a href="https://t.co/3OgsVivV7U">pic.twitter.com/3OgsVivV7U</a>

In the Yankees' 10-4 victory over the White Sox on May 13, Anderson took exception to Donaldson's actions during a tag play at third.


Josh Donaldson and Tim Anderson exchange words after this play at third.<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCSWhiteSox?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBCSWhiteSox</a>) <a href="https://t.co/zd5CQsFvB9">pic.twitter.com/zd5CQsFvB9</a>

Robinson became MLB's first Black player in 1947, opening the door for his peers and future generations of Black players.

"It's the guy that paved the way for a guy like me," Anderson told MLB.com's Scott Merkin of the Hall of Famer in April, during the league's annual celebration of Robinson's legacy. "Just what he brought to the game, he means so much to the game, he means so much to the world, he means so much to the community. This has been going on since before I was born, so it's super special."