NEW YORK — Several members of the Chicago White Sox organization have spoken out in the last few days, standing up for shortstop Tim Anderson after Yankees Josh Donaldson referred to him as "Jackie [Robinson]" during a game over the weekend.
The latest was pitching coach Ethan Katz, who took to Twitter after Major League Baseball gave Donaldson a one-game suspension on Monday afternoon.
“Just one game,” Katz wrote in a tweet that was later deleted. “We all saw his malice at third a week ago, then this comment with the ridiculous excuse that followed. What’s the point or message behind a 1 game suspension? This is incredibly disappointing and plain frustrating."
The "malice" Katz was referring to occurred at Guaranteed Rate Field a week ago when Donaldson pushed Anderson off of third base while trying to tag him out. Anderson shoved back as he stood up, igniting a benches-clearing situation.
Then, benches cleared again—this time at Yankee Stadium—when Donaldson called Anderson "Jackie" in the first few innings of Saturday's game. The Yankees' slugger later explained that he meant the comment in jest—referring back to an interview where Anderson said he feels like "today's Jackie Robinson" in 2019—but Anderson and the White Sox didn't take it as a joke.
"I don’t play like that. I wasn’t really bothering nobody today, but he made the comment and it was disrespectful. I don’t think it was called for. It was unnecessary,” Anderson told reporters.
After Anderson's manager Tony La Russa called Donaldson's comment "racist," closer Liam Hendriks ripped the third baseman as well.
"Completely inappropriate,” Hendriks told reporters. “And then after hearing what was said after the game, usually you have inside jokes with people you get along with, not people that don’t get along at all. So that statement right there was complete bulls--t.”
Here is the reasoning for Donaldson's one-game suspension as spelled out by Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president for on-field operations:
“MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident. There is no dispute over what was said on the field. 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.”
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