Yankees, White Sox benches clear after Josh Donaldson calls Tim Anderson 'Jackie' Robinson

·4-min read

Benches cleared after New York's Josh Donaldson called Chicago's Tim Anderson "Jackie" Robinson during Saturday's Yankees-White Sox game.

While the comment that sparked the incident took place early in the game, tensions boiled over in the fifth inning when White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal confronted Donaldson when he stepped to the plate for an at-bat. Grandal had words for Donaldson before Donaldson had a chance to take his stance in the batter's box.

Home plate umpire Nick Mahrley intervened before players from both dugouts and bullpens joined the fracas. Anderson was restrained by some of his White Sox teammates.

Here's how it played out in real time.

No punches were thrown, and play resumed after players from both teams returned to their respective dugouts. At the time it wasn't clear what sparked the incident. White Sox manager Tony La Russa shed light on the incident while speaking with reporters after New York's 7-5 win.

La Russa derides Donaldson's 'racist comment'

"He made a racist comment, Donaldson, and that's all I'm gonna say," La Russa said.

Anderson: Donald called me 'Jackie'

Anderson later revealed what Donaldson said to him, telling reporters that the Yankees third baseman called him "Jackie Robinson" on multiple occasions throughout the game.

"He just made a disrespectful comment," Anderson said. "Basically was trying to call me Jackie Robinson, like 'what's up Jackie?' I don't play like that. I don't really play at all. I wasn't really gonna bother nobody today. But he made the comment, and it was disrespectful. I don't think it was called for."

Anderson then said that Donaldson called him Jackie "the first time he got on" and later repeated it.

"I spared him that time, and then it happened again," Anderson continued.

Donaldson: 'I called him Jackie'

Donaldson acknowledged after the game that he called Anderson "Jackie" and that he was "joking around" in an effort to defuse tension. He also said that he'd called Anderson by the name since 2019.

"All right, so first inning, I called him 'Jackie,'" Donaldson told reporters. "[In] 2019, he came out with an interview said that he's the new Jackie Robinson of baseball. He's gonna bring back fun to the game. [In] 2019 when I played for Atlanta, we actually joked about that on the game.

"I don't know what's changed — and I've said it to him in year's past. Not in any manner than just joking around for the fact that he called himself Jackie Robinson. If something has changed from that, my meaning of that — has not any term trying to be racist by any fact of the matter. It was just off of an interview of what he called himself."

Donaldson and Anderson have a public history of tension, but Saturday was the first mention of Donaldson calling Anderson "Jackie." The two had to be separated at third base during a May 13 play that saw Anderson slide into third on a pickoff attempt with Donaldson covering.

The Yankees and White Sox are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Sunday to close out their current three-game series.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 21: umpire Nick Mahrley #48 attempts to separate Yasmani Grandal #24 of the Chicago White Sox and Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 21: umpire Nick Mahrley #48 attempts to separate Yasmani Grandal #24 of the Chicago White Sox and Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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