New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson has been suspended for one game by Major League Baseball for referring to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson as “Jackie” during Saturday’s game between the two teams. Donaldson has also been fined an undisclosed amount.

Benches cleared at Yankee Stadium after Donaldson’s comments toward Anderson that some felt slighted the legendary Jackie Robinson, who broke MLB's color barrier in 1945.

Donaldson told reporters that he jokingly called Anderson “Jackie” because the shortstop told Sports Illustrated in 2019 that he feels like “today’s Jackie Robinson” for the way he plays the game by showcasing his personality while attempting to break the “have-fun barrier.”

The two players also had a heated exchange in Chicago on May 13 when Donaldson tagged Anderson and seemingly tried to push him off third base.

Donaldson’s comments caused an uproar over the weekend. Anderson said it was “disrespectful.” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said calling Anderson "Jackie" was “racist.” Donaldson told reporters that didn’t mean to disrespect Anderson in any manner. 

“MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident. There is no dispute over what was said on the field,” Michael Hill, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for on-field operations, said in a statement

“Regardless of Mr. Donaldson's intent, the comment he directed toward Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and in poor judgment, particularly when viewed in the context of their prior interactions. In addition, Mr. Donaldson’s remark was a contributing factor in a bench-clearing incident between the teams, and warrants discipline.”

Donaldson is appealing the suspension. He didn’t play in Monday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles because he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list. 

There was speculation that MLB might hand Donaldson a suspension that lasted several games. Monday’s news sat poorly with some, including White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz, who expressed his frustration in a tweet that has since been deleted.

“Just one game,” Katz tweeted. “We all saw his malice at third a week ago, then this comment with the ridiculous excuse that followed. What's the point or message behind a 1 game suspension? This is incredibly disappointing and plain frustrating.”

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge also was critical of Donaldson’s comments. 

“Joke or not, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do there,’’ Judge told reporters Monday.  

 

 

Judge noted that Donaldson spoke with the team and explained that he was referring to Anderson’s interview from three years ago. Judge called Donaldson a “pro” and said it was time to move on from the situation, though he felt his teammate made a mistake.

“Given the history, especially the series in Chicago and the little bit of beef between Anderson and [Donaldson],’’ Judge said. “Anderson is one of the best shortstops in the game and is a big part of MLB and how we can grow the game. [Donaldson] getting a one-game suspension … I don’t know. He made a mistake, owned up to it and we’ve got to move on.

“We’re grown men. He owned up to what he did. That’s all you can ask, especially when we’re playing games every day. Can’t sit here and linger on a lot. … You learn from it when you make a mistake.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he disagreed with MLB’s decision to suspend Donaldson. After Saturday’s incident, Boone told reporters that he didn’t think Donaldson had "malicious intent" with his comments but it was not something he should’ve said.

"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.”

The Yankees and White Sox are not scheduled to play each other again in the regular season.

Josh Donaldson New York Yankees Giancarlo Stanton #27 holds back Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees after Donaldson's benches-clearing dispute with Yasmani Grandal #24 of the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images