New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (C) said he called shortstop Tim Anderson "Jackie" during a win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday in New York. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
May 26 (UPI) -- New York Yankees infielder Josh Donaldson, who recently was suspended for what MLB called a "disrespectful" comment he made to Tim Anderson, apologized Thursday to the Chicago White Sox star and Jackie Robinson's family.
On Monday, MLB suspended the Yankees third baseman for one game for calling Anderson, who is Black, "Jackie" in reference to Jackie Robinson, who broke MLB's color barrier in 1947.
Donaldson, who is White, made the comment during the Yankees' win over the White Sox on Saturday in New York. He later admitted that he used the name for Anderson in the past. He also elected to appeal the suspension.
"First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball," Donaldson wrote in his statement. "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."
MLB senior vice president for on-field operations Mike Hill said in a statement that there is "no dispute over what was said on the field." Hill also said the remark was a "contributing factor" to a bench-clearing incident Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Anderson said after Saturday's game that he thought the comment was racist. Donaldson told reporters in his postgame news conference that he made the comments in reference to a 2019 Sports Illustrated article.
Anderson described himself as "kind of" feeling like "today's Jackie Robinson" due to the lack of Black players in MLB compared to past years.