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Yankees’ Josh Donaldson suspended for ‘inappropriate comments’ toward White Sox player Tim Anderson, who is black


White Sox manager Tony La Russa said after the game that Donaldson had “made a racist comment”.

Anderson, who is black, told reporters Saturday that Donaldson, who is white, called him “Jackie” (Robinson) disrespectfully several times during the game.

“He was trying to call me Jackie Robinson, like ‘What’s up, Jackie?'” Anderson said after Saturday’s game. “I don’t play like that. I really didn’t bother anyone today, but he made that comment and it was disrespectful. I don’t think it was necessary. It was unnecessary.”

In the fifth inning of Saturday’s game, both teams’ benches cleared after a verbal confrontation between Donaldson and White Sox wide receiver Yasmani Grandal at home plate. Donaldson appeared to point the finger at Anderson, who was playing on the court, and both benches cleared. Anderson had to be held back by his teammates. Both teams received warnings but no one was ejected.

In a locker room interview, Donaldson admitted to calling Anderson “Jackie” during the game, but denied any racist intent.

“We’re not trying to start fights or anything like that,” Donaldson told reporters after the game. “Obviously he felt that was disrespectful and look, if he did, I apologize because that’s not what I was trying to do in any way.”

Donaldson said it was a joke between the two players and said they once joked about it after Anderson’s 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated.

“I kind of feel like the Jackie Robinson of today,” Anderson told Sports Illustrated, while saying he wanted to bring “fun” back to baseball. “That’s a huge thing to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point where I have to change the game.”

Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president for field operations, said Donaldson’s discipline was for “inappropriate comments.”

“MLB has completed the discussion process with those involved in this incident. There is no dispute as to what was said on the field,” he said.

“Whatever Mr. Donaldson’s intention, his comment to Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and lacked judgment, particularly when considered in the context of their prior interactions. Further, the remark of Mr. Donaldson was a contributing factor in a bench incident between the teams, and warrants discipline.”

Earlier this month, the two collided on a takedown attempt at third and Anderson went against Donaldson’s tag.

Donaldson appealed his suspension, which was set to take place on Monday, according to the league. The league said “discipline will be suspended until the process is complete.”

But Donaldson has been placed on the Covid-19 injured list, according to the team.

CNN’s Jacob Lev contributed to this report.

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