Josh Donaldson is still feeling the blowback from his calling Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox “Jackie.”
The Yankees’ third baseman addressed the issue again on Wednesday ahead of their second game against the Los Angeles Angels in the Bronx. Donaldson expressed disappointment over the lack of support he received from his Bronx Bombers teammates following the incident.
“I think that was tough to hear, for sure, just for the simple fact that I pride myself on being a good teammate, and everywhere I’ve went, every organization that I’ve been a part of, minus Oakland, has offered me extensions, has wanted me to stay back,” Donaldson said. “They’ve showed that they wanted me a part of their team. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. And that’s just the business end of it.
“And also everywhere I went, I’ve won. I think part of winning is having good team chemistry, and I’ve taken pride everywhere I’ve went I’ve always tried to help people try to get better.”
Donaldson faced swift blowback after Anderson went public with what eventually led to a bench-clearing brawl in the fifth inning of the May 21 meeting between New York and Chicago. Yankees manager Aaron Boone criticized Donaldson’s decision after the game as did franchise superstar Aaron Judge.
The 36-year-old said that he did speak with his teammates and felt that they responded to what he had to say after the incident. He did say that he felt bad that the family of Jackie Robinson had been dragged into things, which is what prompted him to issue last week’s apology.
Donaldson was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount for the incident by Major League Baseball.
Donaldson has maintained that he was referencing a 2019 Sports Illustrated article in which Anderson likened himself to Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. White Sox manager Tony La Russa labled the incident as racist, which Donaldson said has upset him.
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“That’s a big thing and it’s extremely hurtful to have that accusation, not just myself but for my family,” Donaldson said. “That’s definitely not who I am, by any stretch or manner. After the confrontation happened, I made sure that I talked to the guys and to Boone, ‘Hey, this is what’s happened. I don’t know why this all of a sudden got blown out of proportion the way that it has.’ I’ve had conversations with him in the past about it, as I said — like jokingly, kind of giving friendly banter back and forth, and he took it as that.
“I know the reports have come out where he says, ‘Oh no, I didn’t.’ Maybe we misinterpreted it differently. Now I know. I’m not going to speak to the guy in that matter.”
The Yankees and White Sox will not meet again this season and Donaldson said that he felt comfortable inside the Yankees clubhouse.