Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson released a statement Thursday morning regarding comments he made to Tim Anderson during Saturday’s game against the White Sox in New York.
Donaldson called Anderson “Jackie,” which led to a bench clearing incident. He was suspended one game and fined by Major League Baseball on Monday. In his statement, Donaldson said he and Anderson “have a mutual understanding.”
“First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball. I stated over the weekend that I apologized for offending Tim and that it was a misunderstanding based on multiple exchanges between us over the years. My view of that exchange hasn’t changed and I absolutely meant no disrespect. In the past, it had never been an issue and now that it is, we have a mutual understanding.
“I would also like to apologize to Mrs. Rachel Robinson and the Jackie Robinson family for any distress this incident may have caused. Jackie was a true American hero and I hold his name in the highest regard.”
The statement was issued via MLB.com.
Donaldson on Saturday said he jokingly called Anderson “Jackie” in the past, and Anderson acknowledged that Tuesday. But Anderson insists Donaldson’s taunting wasn’t taken in a joking manner.
“In 2019, I know he did say that,” Anderson said. “I told him that we don’t ever have to talk again. And I won’t speak to you, you won’t speak to me if that’s how you’re gonna refer to me. And I know he knew exactly what he was doing.”
Donaldson said he was making “an inside joke” about Anderson referring to himself “today’s Jackie Robinson” in a 2019 Sports Illustrated article, the context of which was lost on Donaldson.
“Two, three years, don’t say nothing to me because I already addressed it,” Anderson said.