Josh Donaldson Apologizes to Tim Anderson, Jackie Robinson's Family for Racist Remark

Adam WellsMay 26, 2022

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 13: Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees blocks third base as Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox tries to get back to the base at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson has issued a statement about the racist remark he directed toward Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. 

In the statement, Donaldson said he apologized to Anderson over the weekend and his personal "view of that exchange hasn't changed and I absolutely meant no disrespect." 

Donaldson also issued an apology to Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel, and Robinson's family "for any distress this incident may have caused."

Mark Feinsand @Feinsand

Statement from Josh Donaldson: <a href="https://t.co/suVndRyAze">pic.twitter.com/suVndRyAze</a>

Donaldson called Anderson "Jackie" on the field during the first inning of a game between the White Sox and Yankees on May 21. 

The two exchanged words on the field. In the fifth inning, Donaldson and White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal had a verbal exchange that led to both benches clearing. 

After the game, Anderson told reporters that Donaldson "made a disrespectful comment." Grandal said his reaction was sparked by what the Yankees third baseman said. 

"This game went through a period of time where a lot of those comments were made and I think we’re way past that," Grandal told reporters. "It’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow, and I want to make sure I got my team’s back. There’s no way you’re allowed to say something like that."

Donaldson attempted to downplay the significance of his comment. 

"Obviously he deemed that it was disrespectful," Donaldson said on Saturday. "Look, if he did, I apologize. There was no meaning by me saying that to him other than he’s called himself that. That’s it."

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Anderson said Donaldson made a similar comment when the two played against each other in 2019 "and I told him that we don’t have to talk again."

"I won’t speak to you, you won’t speak to me if that’s how you’re going to refer to me," Anderson added. "So I know he knew exactly what he was doing, because I already told him."

Anderson told Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein in 2019 that he "kind of" feels like today's Jackie Robinson because "he changed the game, and I feel like I'm getting to a point to where I need to change the game."

In the context of the story by Apstein, Anderson made his comment about feeling isolated in Major League Baseball due to the lack of Black players in the sport. 

Major League Baseball announced a one-game suspension for Donaldson and an undisclosed fine. He is appealing the decision.