Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson issued an apology Thursday to both the Jackie Robinson family and White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.
“First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball,” he said, via Mark Feinsand. “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.”
Robinson, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He went on to make six All-Star teams and was named the National League MVP in 1949.
Donaldson admitted to calling Anderson “Jackie,” during Saturday’s game between the two teams, a reference to a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated where Anderson said he felt like today’s Jackie Robinson. Anderson, who is Black, took offense to the comment and manager Tony La Russa said it was racist, but declined to comment further.
“He just made a disrespectful comment,” Anderson said. “Basically he was trying to call me Jackie Robinson. ‘What’s up, Jackie?’ I don’t play like that. I don’t really play at all. I wasn’t really going to bother nobody today, but he made the comment and you know it was disrespectful and I don’t think it was called for. It was unnecessary.”
MLB suspended Donaldson for one game Monday and fined him an undisclosed amount. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he thought MLB made the wrong decision.
“I think they were thoughtful and did their due diligence on it and made what was a tough call,” Boone said. “I don’t agree with it. I don’t think it warranted a suspension, but I certainly respect their process.”
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