Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson has released a statement after being suspended for the “disrespectful” comments he made to Tim Anderson of the White Sox last weekend. Donaldson called Anderson, “Jackie,” a reference to Jackie Robinson and what Donaldson initially claimed was an inside joke.
Donaldson was suspended one game and fined by MLB. On Thursday, he said the exchange was a “misunderstanding” and that he “absolutely meant no disrespect.” He also apologized to Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, and the rest of the Robinson family.
Here’s Donaldson’s full statement:
First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball. 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.
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.
Donaldson’s “Jackie” comment stemmed from a Sports Illustrated article in which Anderson said he feels like Robinson. The deeper context, of course, is that Anderson feels alone and isolated as one of the few Black American players in Major League Baseball. Donaldson originally said the comment was an inside joke between the two, but White Sox closer Liam Hendriks noted that “usually you have inside jokes with the people you get along with, not people that don’t get along at all.”
In the days since this all went down, Anderson has said that Donaldson first called him, “Jackie” in 2019 and that Anderson replied by saying to never talk to him again.