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New York Yankees' Josh Donaldson suspended one game for 'Jackie' comment

New York Yankees' Josh Donaldson suspended one game for 'Jackie' comment
New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (L), shown April 22, 2022, was given a one-game suspension for making "inappropriate comments" to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. File Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI | License Photo

May 23 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball suspended New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson one game for making "inappropriate comments" to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson during a game over the weekend.

Donaldson, who also was fined an undisclosed amount for the incident, is appealing the punishment, according to MLB. He will be eligible to play for the Yankees until the appeal process concludes.

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Shortly before the punishment was announced, the Yankees put Donaldson on the COVID-19 injured list.

"MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident," Michael Hill, the league's senior vice president for on-field operations, said in a statement Monday. "There is no dispute over what was said on the field.

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"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."

After Saturday's game between the Yankees and White Sox, Donaldson acknowledged that he called Anderson "Jackie" -- a reference to Jackie Robinson, who broke MLB's color barrier in 1947 -- in the first inning. Donaldson apologized for the comment and said he meant no disrespect.

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Anderson, who is Black, said Saturday that he took offense to Donaldson's comment, calling it "disrespectful" and "unnecessary." White Sox manager Tony La Russa said after the game that he believed Donaldson's comment was "racist."

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Donaldson, who is White, said his "Jackie" comment was referring to a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated in which Anderson described himself as feeling like "today's Jackie Robinson" in how he's "getting to a point where I need to change the game."

The 36-year-old Donaldson noted that he had "joked around" with Anderson in the past about the reference.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters Sunday that he didn't think Donaldson should have made the comment.

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"I don't believe there was any malicious intent in that regard," Boone said. "But you know, this is, just in my opinion, somewhere he should not be going."

Donaldson has compiled a .238 batting average with five home runs and 15 RBIs across 37 games this season for the Yankees.

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