Josh Donaldson says he was “joking” when he referred to Tim Anderson as “Jackie,” but at least one member of the Chicago White Sox doesn’t believe the former MVP’s explanation.
“Normally you crack inside jokes with people you get along with, not people who don’t get along at all,” White Sox closer Liam Hendriks said Sunday, a day after the exchange between Donaldson and Anderson revealed an incident with clearing the benches at Yankee Stadium. “So that statement was complete bullshit right there—.”
Donaldson admitted after Saturday’s game to calling Anderson “Jackie” in the first inning — a nod to Jackie Robinson. The Yankees third baseman apologized and said he didn’t mean it disrespectfully.
But Anderson, who is black, said Saturday that he was offended by Donaldson’s comment, calling it “disrespectful” and “unnecessary.” Hendriks echoed those sentiments on Sunday afternoon before the clubs launched a doubleheader.
“Us in this clubhouse we have [Anderson’s] back and everything – and that was just a totally unacceptable thing,” said Hendriks. [the Yankees] try to whip it out as an inside joke — no, that’s horses—-. They don’t have these kinds of things going on. … That’s like having an inside joke with a guy you’re arch-enemy with, I guess you might say.
“But that’s not how it worked in this clubhouse and I don’t understand how [Donaldson] ever thought about it. It’s just pure delusion.”
Donaldson, who is white, said the “Jackie” comment was a reference to a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview in which Anderson described himself as “today’s Jackie Robinson” because he “gets to a point, at I have to change the game.” Donaldson said it was a reference he had “joked around” with Anderson in the past.
Major League Baseball is investigating the matter and is speaking with all relevant stakeholders, a source told ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday he didn’t think Donaldson should have made that comment.
“I don’t think there was any malicious intent in that regard,” Boone told reporters. “But you know, I don’t think that’s a place he should go.”Josh Donaldson says he was “joking” when he called Tim Anderson “Jackie,” but White Sox closer Liam Hendriks doesn’t believe that explanation, calling it “complete bullshit.” Sarah Bull/Getty Images
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Saturday that he thought Donaldson’s comment was “racist,” and addressed the situation a day later by telling reporters he was “curious” to see if the Yankees address the incident.
“I’m really excited to see what the Yankee Organization says,” La Russa said. “It doesn’t really matter what I say here. I saw what Aaron said – he’s there between a rock and a hard place.”
Hendriks also said he hopes to see more reactions from the Yankees.
“A couple of our guys made sure that a couple of guys in their clubhouse knew exactly what was going on,” said Hendriks. “Whether it’s an internal thing that needs to happen on their side, today we’re showing up and doing what we came here to do – we have a chance to win two games at Yankee Stadium.”
Anderson was kept out of Chicago’s Game 1 lineup by La Russa, who said it “didn’t make sense” to let the former AL batting champion play both games of the doubleheader.
Donaldson wrestled Anderson in Chicago on May 13 after delivering a hard tag to the White Sox’s star shortstop, who responded with a shove, resulting in the benches and the bullpens being cleared. Donaldson said Saturday that he was “trying to defuse any lingering tensions” as the players crossed paths early in the game.
In the third inning, Donaldson had rounded second base after the final out and began chatting with Anderson as the teams left the field. Donaldson was escorted off the field by Boone while Anderson was led away by third base coach Joe McEwing.
“[Donaldson] knew damn well what he was doing,” said Hendriks. “He wanted it to be exactly the way it was. He just didn’t intend the impact, which was quick.”