Major League Baseball suspended New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson for one game Monday for racist comments he directed at Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.
Donaldson was also fined an undisclosed amount.
Of note, Donaldson was placed on the COVID-19 list Monday.
Following Saturday's matchup between the Yankees and White Sox—during which Donaldson had a heated discussion with catcher Yasmani Grandal that appeared to be in regards to Anderson—Anderson told reporters that Donaldson had called him "Jackie" during the game, a reference to Jackie Robinson:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Tim Anderson says Josh Donaldson made a "disrespectful comment" referring to him as "Jackie [Robinson]" and agreed with manager Tony La Russa that it was racist.<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCSWhiteSox?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBCSWhiteSox</a>)<br><br> <a href="https://t.co/7BoRQnFXlb">pic.twitter.com/7BoRQnFXlb</a>
Chicago manager Tony La Russa also said after the game that Donaldson "made a racist comment":
Donaldson claimed his intent was not racist and that he was referring to what Anderson told Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated in 2019, when the shortstop compared his unique style and passion for the game to the legendary Robinson:
Lindsey Adler @lindseyadler
Josh Donaldson on calling Tim Anderson “Jackie” today: “Obviously, he deemed that it was disrespectful. And look, if he did, I apologize. Like that's not what I was trying to do by any manner.”<br><br>Donaldson says he hadn’t spoken with Anderson, said he would be open to it.
As some pointed out on social media, however, even if Donaldson believed it was a joke between the two, it doesn't make his comments appropriate or inoffensive.
Joon Lee @joonlee
“I’ve said this in years past” doesn’t excuse Donaldson<br><br>Anyone who’s been the target of name calling has heard the same things over and over. Sometimes you respond, sometimes you don’t.<br><br>Donaldson doesn’t get to decide if it’s a joke today or yesterday<br><br>Anderson does <a href="https://t.co/h8SSfmI2y3">https://t.co/h8SSfmI2y3</a>
Herb Lawrence @Ecnerwal23
To all the people twisting themselves into pretzels to defend Josh Donaldson, stop and just listen. Your opinion of this doesn’t matter. I know that’s hard for you to hear but it’s true whether you believe it or not. Tim is telling you how HE took Donaldson’s words <a href="https://t.co/SZoUyJJBhx">https://t.co/SZoUyJJBhx</a>
Given Donaldson's suspension, Major League Baseball's stance on the situation was that the remarks were inappropriate and disrespectful.
Donaldson and Anderson had previously exchanged words this season after the former pushed the latter off third base during a close play at the bag May 13:
Donaldson also has something of a history with the White Sox. Last season, while the 36-year-old was with the Minnesota Twins, he hit a homer off Lucas Giolito and said "hands not sticky anymore" while rubbing his hands together as he crossed home plate.
MLB had ramped up its efforts to investigate pitchers' use of foreign substances, and Donaldson said: "I didn't see any swings and misses on fastballs up yesterday where he normally gets swings and misses up there. ... That's where you get that hopping effect from the spin rate."
Giolito responded by calling Donaldson a "pest" and said his actions as he crossed home plate were "classless."
Donaldson said he confronted Giolito in the parking lot after the game to have a conversation with him.