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The Chicago White Sox on Saturday accused New York Yankees slugger Josh Donaldson of making a racist comment directed at Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson.
After the Yankees’ 7-5 win in New York, Anderson, who is Black, said Donaldson referred to him as “Jackie” during the game, a reference to MLB legend Jackie Robinson.
“He just made a, you know, disrespectful comment,” Anderson told reporters. “Basically, it was trying to call me Jackie Robinson. Like, ‘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. Unnecessary.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa thought the comment by Donaldson was “racist.”
“That’s as strong as it gets,” La Russa said.
Robinson was a six-time all-star who broke the MLB color barrier in 1947. He played in six World Series, and the league retired his No. 42 for all teams. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Donaldson, who is White, said he jokingly called Anderson “Jackie” in the past following a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview in which Anderson said he felt like “today’s Jackie Robinson.”
“My meaning of that is not any term trying to be racist by any fact of the matter,” Donaldson said. “Obviously, he deemed it disrespectful … and look, if he did, I apologize. That’s not what I was trying to do by any manner and that’s what happened.”
Anderson said Donaldson made a “Jackie” reference in an early inning before the pair started jawing in the third. Things appeared to escalate in the fifth when White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal confronted Donaldson as Donaldson approached the plate.
“Believe me, you don’t want me to tell you guys what I told him,” Grandal told reporters.
Anderson later shouted at Donaldson, prompting some of his White Sox teammates to hold him back.
“This game went through a period in time where a lot of those comments were meant, and I think we’re way past that,” Grandal added. “And it’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow, and I want to make sure I’ve got my team’s back. There’s no way that you’re allowed to say something like that.”‘
Major League Baseball is investigating the incident.
“I know … some talk of that. I’ve got to get to the bottom of it,” added Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
The teams are scheduled to play in a doubleheader Sunday, the final time they meet in the regular season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report