Aaron Boone spoke to Josh Donaldson and other Yankees about Saturday’s incident involving Tim Anderson, and he agrees that Donaldson shouldn’t have named Jackie Robinson in his exchange with the White Sox shortstop.
Chicago manager Tony La Russa accused Donaldson of making a “racist” comment as he said on the field to Anderson, who is black, “What’s up Jackie,” which was later revealed at the 7-5- Yankees victory led to the bench busting incident. Donaldson claimed after the game that he joked about Anderson referring to himself as “today’s Jackie Robinson” in a 2019 Sports Illustrated story.
“I understand that Josh was very forthcoming with the story and context. I don’t think there was any malicious intent in that regard. It’s just a place I don’t think he should go,” Boone said ahead of Sunday’s doubleheader at the stadium.
Boone admitted that before hearing Donaldson’s public and private statements, it also immediately bothered him to learn that Robinson’s name was being used.
Tim Anderson (c.) is restrained by White Sox teammates during Saturday’s game against the Yankees.Robert Sabo
“When I first heard the name Jackie, I was really surprised and frankly upset myself,” Boone said. “I think if you come back to the context, the original story that it came from, from the article, and now a few years after I said that, I’m less surprised at this point.
“But again, sitting here as a white person, that changed the context for me, but I also understand how offensive or disturbing it can be.”
Boone added that his “feel” is that this isn’t an issue in the Yankees’ clubhouse.
Josh Donaldson during the Yankees-White Sox game on Saturday.AP
“Again, I think Josh has been very accommodating and I think he spoke about the story of that yesterday. That doesn’t make it a great thing, but it definitely changes the context in my opinion. But I certainly understand that this is sensitive and you need to read the space with that in mind.
Boone added that he met with Donaldson in his office before the first game with several teammates present, and that the veteran third baseman also addressed his teammates individually.
Boone said he also spoke to Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president of on-field operations, about the incident as part of the league’s investigation. Neither Donaldson nor Anderson spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s doubleheader, and it was unclear if they had spoken since Saturday night.
Aaron Boone during the Yankees-White Sox game on Saturday. Getty Images
“I’ve said it to him for the past few years, not in any way but just jokingly,” Donaldson said after Saturday’s game. “What I mean by that is that no term tries to be racist by any fact. No way was I trying to, and that’s what happened.”
Donaldson was in the Yankees’ starting lineup for the opener, but La Russa said Anderson would start the nightcap after resting for Game 1.
Joey Gallo and Kyle Higashioka were placed on the COVID-19 injured list ahead of the first game. Outfielder Estevan Florial and catcher Rob Brantley were called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.