Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday that although he believes Josh Donaldson didn’t have any “malicious intent” behind his Jackie Robinson remarks to Tim Anderson, the subject matter is “somewhere he should not be going.”
Anderson said Saturday that the Yankees third baseman made a “disrespectful” comment toward him in the first inning of the game when he asked him, “What’s up, Jackie?” in reference to Robinson. Chicago manager Tony La Russa told the media postgame the comment was racist.
Donaldson confirmed he did call Anderson “Jackie” in the first inning, but said he was referencing a 2019 Sports Illustrated article in which Anderson referred to himself as “today’s Jackie Robinson.” Donaldson and Anderson had previously joked about the interview, he said.
“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson,” Anderson said in the interview, referencing his desire to break the “have-fun barrier” in baseball. “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.”
“Josh has been very forthcoming with the history of it and the context of it,” Boone said ahead of Sunday’s game. “So I don’t believe there was any malicious intent in that regard. But you know, this is — just in my opinion — somewhere he should not be going.”
“Usually you have inside jokes with people you get along with — not people who don’t get along at all,” he said. “So that statement right there was complete bullshit.”
MLB is looking into the incident and speaking to all relevant parties, sources told The Athletic. Anderson was scratched from the White Sox starting lineup for the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday.
The hostility between the two stems back to last weekend, when Donaldson and Anderson collided on an attempted pickoff tag at third. Donaldson added that he was trying to “defuse” the situation Saturday and that Anderson “deemed that it was disrespectful” this time.
“I wasn’t really bothering nobody today but he made the comment and it was disrespectful and I don’t think it was called for,” Anderson told reporters. “It’s unnecessary.”
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