Josh Donaldson’s suspension for ‘Jackie’ comment to Tim Anderson upheld, per report


Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson will miss New York’s series-opening game on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays after Major League Baseball upheld the one-game suspension levied against him in May, according to the Associated Press. MLB heard Donaldson’s appeal last Thursday, and he did succeed in one respect, as the league reduced his fine from $10,000 to $5,000.

Donaldson, 36, spurred a benches-clearing incident against the Chicago White Sox after he referred to shortstop Tim Anderson as “Jackie,” a reference to Jackie Robinson, who integrated MLB in 1947. White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal, among others, took exception with Donaldson’s remark, which he initially claimed was an inside joke between the two that stemmed from a Sports Illustrated article (Anderson later rebuked Donaldson’s claim that the two were on friendly terms, and said he had told Donaldson to not refer to him as “Jackie” in the past.)

Here’s Anderson’s quote from a 2019 Sports Illustrated piece that Donaldson claimed to be referencing:

“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson,” he says. “That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game.”

It’s important to note the context surrounding Anderson’s words. The piece itself is about the loneliness he feels as a Black man playing in a league that is dominated by white men. ESPN’s 2017 gender and race report card found that nearly 60 percent of players are white. Moreover, Dusty Baker (Astros) and Dave Roberts (Dodgers) are the only Black managers, and not a single current general manager or franchise owner is Black.

Donaldson has subsequently missed action after first spending time on the COVID-19 injured list and then going on the proper injured list with shoulder inflammation. He’s in his first season with the Yankees, having been acquired during the offseason as part of a multi-player trade with the Minnesota Twins.

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