After being suspended one game and fined by Major League Baseball for referring to Tim Anderson as “Jackie” last Saturday, Josh Donaldson issued a statement. It included an apology specifically to Jackie Robinson’s family and his 99-year-old widow, Rachel.
“I would 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,” the statement read.
“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.”
On May 21, Donaldson made the “joke” during the early innings of a Yankees-White Sox game in the Bronx. The next time Donaldson stepped up to the plate, he was met by Chicago catcher Yasmani Grandal, who had been made aware of the comments. Both benches cleared, although no punches were thrown.
After the game, Donaldson was confronted about making the comment – which he admitted to – and said it was an “inside joke” the two had previously shared. It supposedly stemmed from Anderson – one of the premier Black players in today’s MLB – saying he felt like “today’s Jackie Robinson” in a Sports Illustrated interview with Stephanie Apstein back in May 2019.
Anderson said in a post-game interview: “I don’t play like that. I don’t really play at all. He made the comment and it was disrespectful. I don’t think it was called for; it was unnecessary.”
Anderson Responds, Donaldson Ducks
The next day, with some New York fans chanting “Jackie! Jackie!” as he came up to the plate, Anderson hit a three-run homerun to help the White Sox sweep the Yankees in a doubleheader. He said: “It was pretty dope for me to shut them up.”
Upon hearing on Monday that Donaldson would be suspended for one game and fined by MLB, Anderson had no real opinion.
“It’s out of my control, so I’m cool with whatever,” he said. “I could care less about the suspension.”
Donaldson has not played since Sunday due to being placed on the COVID-19 injured list. He is currently appealing his one-game suspension, which he would have to serve upon activation to the active roster if it is upheld.
According to Anderson, neither Donaldson nor New York has reached out to him to personally apologize, rather than doing it thru a statement or media quote.
Anderson leads Chicago hitters with a .908 OPS and currently ranks second in the American League with a .355 batting average. Donaldson, meanwhile, owns a .764 OPS. It would be his worst hitting season since becoming a full-time MLB player in 2012.