Donaldson fined and suspended by MLB
The New York Yankees third baseman has been suspended for one game and given an undisclosed fine after his comments to Tim Anderson cleared both benches.
In an effort to put an end to the Josh Donaldson clash with Tim Anderson, Major League Baseball has handed down a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine to the New York Yankees third baseman.
Donaldson admitted that he called Anderson “Jackie”, purportedly in a reference to the Chicago White Sox shortstop referring to himself as “the new Jackie Robinson” in a 2019 interview. Donaldson claims that he and Anderson had joked and laughed about the quote several times over the years, a claim that Anderson has not commented on.
All of the indications are that, while Donaldson may have seen their previous banter as light-hearted, Anderson certainly did not. In fact, Anderson has made clear that he has not been enjoying the discourse with Donaldson for quite some time.
Anderson may have shown restraint post-game in calling Donaldson’s comments “disrespectful” and “uncalled for”, but White Sox manager Tony LaRussa pulled no punches in calling out Donaldson’s comment as “racist.”
Tensions have been high between Anderson and Donaldson since a game at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field on May 13, when both benches cleared after Anderson shoved Donaldson following a first-inning play at third base. Donaldson claims that he intended for his “Jackie” comment to neutralize that animosity.
Regardless of his intent, at the very least, Donaldson was tone deaf to the situation, and that is being generous. While a person’s intentions are difficult, if not impossible, do contradict, a joke requires two participants, otherwise it is simply cruel, perhaps bordering on bullying, and yes, possibly even racist.
Anderson’s team mates were quick to jump to his defense, with closer Liam Hendriks saying, “That’s completely inappropriate, and then after hearing what was said after the game, usually you have inside jokes with the people you get along with, not people that don’t get along at all. So that statement right there was complete bullshit. But, then again, my feelings toward the individual in question are pretty well documented that we don’t get along. I’ve now spoken to, I think it’s four separate clubhouses that he’s been into and, as a whole, none of ‘em got along.”
In deciding to implement a suspension, the league has decided that the effect of the comment was what was important and not the intent.
MLB’s Senior Vice President for On-Field Operations, Michael Hill, said in a statement that “There is no dispute over what was said on the field. 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.