By JERRY BEACH, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees slugger Josh Donaldson was wrong to make a remark referencing Jackie Robinson when speaking to White Sox star Tim Anderson, New York manager Aaron Boone said Sunday. .
A day after Chicago manager Tony La Russa’s comment was called “racist” — an assessment Anderson agreed with — Major League Baseball continued to investigate the incident.
Anderson, one of baseball’s leading black voices and an All-Star shortstop, and Donaldson, who is white, did not speak to reporters before the start of Sunday’s doubleheader.
Boone said he spoke to Donaldson after Saturday’s game and believed his player’s explanation for why he said it – but he also said he thought Donaldson wouldn’t have shouldn’t have used the term.
“I think with what’s been going on between the two players and between the two teams over the past week or two, I certainly understand how sensitive that would be and I understand the reaction,” Boone said. “I also understand that Josh was very forthcoming with the story and the background to it, so I don’t think there was any malicious intent in that regard.”
“But that’s just my opinion – (it’s) a place he shouldn’t go,” he said.
Donaldson said he twice called Anderson “Jackie” — as in Robinson, who broke MLB’s 1947 color barrier — in the Yankees’ 7-5 victory. Benches and enclosures emptied as tensions mounted.
“He just made a comment, you know, disrespectful,” Anderson said after the game. “He was basically trying to call me Jackie Robinson. Like, ‘What’s up, Jackie?’ “
Donaldson said he was trying to defuse the situation. The benches also emptied on May 13 after Anderson shoved Donaldson following a hard blow in Chicago.
Donaldson said he’s used the “Jackie” reference in the past with Anderson, who said he saw himself as a potential modern-day Robinson in a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated.
“My sense of that is not a term trying to be racist by any fact,” Donaldson said on Saturday.
“Obviously he thought it was disrespectful,” he said. “And listen, if he did, I apologize. That’s not what I was trying to do at all and that’s what happened.
White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal faced Donaldson before a fifth inning at bat, leading to a bench clearing incident in which no punches were thrown and no one was ejected.
“In this clubhouse, we have TA’s back in everything,” White Sox closest Liam Hendriks said. “And that was just a completely unacceptable thing.”
Hendriks, who is white, used an expletive to say he didn’t believe Donaldson’s explanation.
“And then try to pass it off as an inside joke? No, it’s…” he said.
Boone said he spoke to MLB senior vice president of field operations Saturday, Michael Hill, who told him the league would investigate the matter.
“Every time they come to a conclusion, I’m sure you’ll hear about it,” La Russa said.
A pair of brown shoes sat in front of Donaldson’s locker, located across from an exhibit honoring Robinson and featuring his quote ‘A life is not important except the impact it has on other lives’ hanging from the above the entrance to the Yankees clubhouse.
Grandal briefly appeared in the White Sox clubhouse but did not speak to the media.
Anderson, with the locker next to Grandal’s, sat at his booth, wearing a T-shirt that read “Family.”
Anderson was originally in the lineup for Game 1 before being scratched by La Russa, who said he wanted the shortstop to play just one game and appear in Game 2. match “… preserves his body better than playing in the heat.”
Grandal started the opener at receiver and hit sixth. Donaldson started at third base and hit fifth. It also received the usual “Donaldson” vocals from the Bleacher Creatures at the top of the first.
Hendriks, who said he didn’t get along with Donaldson when the two were teammates with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, wasn’t sure there would be any additional issues on Sunday, which marked the final meetings scheduled for the season between the Yankees and White Sox.
“We’ll wait and see,” Hendriks said. “I think the way it ended, I don’t think it will necessarily be complete. It’s something that’s been going on for years between us and it’s something that I don’t think will ever necessarily go away. But I think that’s something MLB should deal with on the MLB side.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.