MLB Suspends, Fines Josh Donaldson Following Investigation Into 'Disrespectful' Comment

·3 min read
Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees fields against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 16, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees fields against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 16, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Patrick Smith/Getty Josh Donaldson will face a single-game suspension from the MLB

The investigation into remarks made by New York Yankee Josh Donaldson to the White Sox's Tim Anderson during last Saturday's game has concluded.

The MLB announced that Donaldson, 36, will be suspended for one game and fined for making "inappropriate comments" toward Anderson, according to ESPN. The amount of Donaldson's fine is unknown.

"MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident," MLB senior vice president for on-field operations Michael Hill said in a statement obtained by ESPN.

"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," Hill added.

The MLB announced that Donaldson plans to appeal the decision. The MLB will allow him to play for the Yankees until the appeal process has finished, ESPN reported.

The league did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

During the fifth inning of the Yankees' win over the Sox last weekend, both benches were cleared when Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal confronted Donaldson at home plate.

New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson, left, and Chicago White Sox baserunner Tim Anderson (7) exchange words in the first inning on May 13, 2022, at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson, left, and Chicago White Sox baserunner Tim Anderson (7) exchange words in the first inning on May 13, 2022, at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Josh Donaldson gets heated during Yankees game

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Players from both teams later revealed that Donaldson called Anderson "Jackie" a number of times during the game, referring to late MLB player Jackie Robinson, who was Black. Anderson and members of the Sox said they felt the comments were racist.

"He made a disrespectful comment," Anderson told reporters. "I don't really play like that. I don't really play at all. I wasn't really bothering nobody today but he made the comment and it was disrespectful. It was unnecessary. It was just uncalled for."

Anderson said it occurred on multiple occasions during the game, telling reporters that he "spared him" the first time but got heated with Donaldson when the comment was made again.

Jose Abreu #79 holds back Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox after a benches-clearing dispute between Yasmani Grandal #24 of the Chicago White Sox (not pictured) and Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees (not pictured) during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Jose Abreu #79 holds back Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox after a benches-clearing dispute between Yasmani Grandal #24 of the Chicago White Sox (not pictured) and Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees (not pictured) during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Sarah Stier/Getty Players and officials calm down a mid-game altercation

Following the incident, Donaldson admitted to making the "Jackie" comments but claimed there was no racist intent, noting that he believed it was an inside joke.

"I called him Jackie. In 2019, he came out with an interview and said that he's the new Jackie Robinson … We've actually joked about that. I've said it to him in years past, not in any manner than just joking around," Donaldson said. (He was referencing Anderson's May 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated in which he said, "I kind of feel like today's Jackie Robinson.")

"My meaning of that is 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," he added. "Obviously he deemed that it was disrespectful and look if he did, I apologize. That's not what I was trying to do by any manner and that's what happened."

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