MLB denies Josh Donaldson’s appeal over suspension for disrespectful Tim Anderson comments

Donaldson’s appeal was denied Monday by John McHale. (David Berding/Getty Images)

Josh Donaldson will be out for Tuesday night’s series opener against the Rays. The Yankees third baseman will serve the one-game suspension handed down by MLB for his disrespectful taunting of White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. Donaldson’s appeal of the suspension was denied by John McHale on Monday.

Donaldson was accused by the White Sox of making racist comments to Anderson, who is Black, during a series in the Bronx last month.

“Disrespectful comment. Basically he tried to call me Jackie Robinson, you know ‘What’s up Jackie.’ I don’t play like that. I don’t play at all,” Anderson told reporters after the game. “I wasn’t really going to bother nobody today, but he made the comment and it was, you know, disrespectful. And I don’t think it was called for. It was unnecessary.”

Donaldson said he thought it was a joke, referring back to a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview Anderson did in which he was quoted as saying “I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson.” He  was referring to breaking the “fun-barrier.”

“It was just off of an interview that he called himself that and we said that before (and) we joked about it. He laughed, whatever. As you could tell, in our series that we’ve played, there are multiple times I’ve tried to defuse the situation. I took responsibility for the tag, I wasn’t trying to do anything there,” Donaldson said referring to an incident when the Yankees were in Chicago last week. “Like today and just trying to defuse it like hey, like, make light like, Hey, we’re not trying to start any brawls or anything like that. Obviously, he deemed that it was disrespectful and look, if he did, I apologize. Like that’s not what I was trying to do by any manner.”

It was a few innings after the “Jackie,” comment that the benches cleared. Donaldson walked to the plate, White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal wouldn’t let him step in the box before he got nose-to-nose and started yelling at him. That sparked the benches and bullpens to come running to the plate.

Anderson and Donaldson clashed the week before when the Yankees were in Chicago after a particularly physical tag at third base on a pickoff play that ended with the benches clearing, but no punches thrown. Last season, when he was with the Twins, Donaldson had angered the White Sox with comments about Lucas Giolito and illegal substances that pitchers were banned from using during that season

Donaldson issued a statement apologizing for his comments to Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s wife and reiterating he meant no disrespect by the comments.

He was suspended for a game by MLB for the “disrespectful,” comments.

Donaldson appealed the one-game suspension issued by MLB dean of discipline Michael Hill, because he felt his comments were misrepresented and he didn’t feel he was to blame for the benches clearing.

“My intentions weren’t what it was blown out to be,” Donaldson said of why he is appealing “And I think a big part of the thing was that I incited the benches clearing. When that was like, four innings after. I don’t know how I was inciting anything. I walked up to home plate and the catcher confronted me.I don’t know how that was my prerogative. They decided they wanted to clear benches. So in my opinion, I didn’t do that.”

McHale  is a Special Assistant to the Commissioner who handles cases that go to appeal hearings.