Tim Anderson Told Donaldson They Didn't Have to Talk Again After 2019 'Jackie' Remark

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 24, 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 and Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees 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

Tim Anderson told reporters on Tuesday that when New York Yankees slugger Josh Donaldson first called him "Jackie" back in 2019, the Chicago White Sox shortstop responded that the two didn't need to be on speaking terms going forward.

"I told him, we never have to talk again," Anderson said. "I won't speak to you, you won't speak to me if that's how you're going to refer to me. I knew he knew exactly what he was doing."

In 2019, Anderson said during a Sports Illustrated interview that he felt like Jackie Robinson in terms of trying to be a pioneer, albeit for more fun and individuality and diversity in a sport that has seen its Black player base shrink.

"I kind of feel like today's Jackie Robinson," he said at the time. "That's huge to say. But it's cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I'm getting to a point to where I need to change the game."

But Donaldson reportedly mocked him for those comments by referring to him as "Jackie," including last week during a game between the White Sox and Yankees, leading to a dust-up between both Anderson and Donaldson and White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal and Anderson. 

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>

After the game, both Anderson and White Sox manager Tony La Russa called out Donaldson for his comments:

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>

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>

Donaldson told reporters the "Jackie" nickname had been a joke between the two men:

Lindsey Adler @lindseyadler

This is the quote from Tim Anderson that Josh Donaldson referenced today. He said it to Sports Illustrated in 2019. Josh Donaldson said that in the past, and and Tim Anderson had joked about it. <a href="https://t.co/kMaSopsNaC">pic.twitter.com/kMaSopsNaC</a>

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.

Anderson clearly didn't see it as a joke, and Major League Baseball responded to the situation by suspending Donaldson for one game. 

Bryan Hoch @BryanHoch

Here is the official <a href="https://twitter.com/MLB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLB</a> announcement regarding Josh Donaldson's one-game suspension and fine. <br><br>Donaldson is appealing. <a href="https://t.co/E7HXALCbcV">pic.twitter.com/E7HXALCbcV</a>

Donaldson's own teammate, Aaron Judge, told reporters he didn't think that Donaldson calling Anderson was appropriate, whatever his intentions. 

"You know, joke or not ... I just don't think it's the right thing to do there, especially given the history, especially the series in Chicago, kind of a little bit of beef between JD and Anderson, [who] is one of the best shortstops in the game and a big part of MLB and what's going on here and how we can grow the game," he said. "JD, for that one-game suspension, yeah I don't know. JD made a mistake and owned up to it and now we got to move on."