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Former Braves’ player issues apology to Jackie Robinson’s family for comment


Former Atlanta Braves player, Josh Donaldson, issued an apology to the wife and family of former baseball great Jackie Robinson for referencing the pioneering Black baseball player in remarks that led to a confrontation with Chicago White Sox star Tim Anderson. 

Donaldson, third baseman for the New York Yankees, was suspended for one game and fined on Monday by Major League Baseball after the league determined that comments Donaldson made were “disrespectful and in poor judgment.” 

Donaldson has appealed the discipline and issued a statement saying:

“First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball. I stated over the weekend that I apologized for offending Tim and that it was a misunderstanding based on multiple exchanges between us over the years. My view of that exchange hasn’t changed and I absolutely meant no disrespect. In the past, it had never been an issue and now that it is, we have a mutual understanding. I would also like to apologize to Mrs. Rachel Robinson and the Jackie Robinson family for any distress this incident may have caused. Jackie was a true American hero and I hold his name in the highest regard.”

During an American League game against the New York Yankees on May 21 at Yankee Stadium in New York, teammates and an umpire had to restrain shortstop Anderson during a benches-clearing dustup brought in by Donaldson’s comment.  

Donaldson admitted that he twice called Anderson “Jackie.” 

Robinson broke MLB’s color barrier in 1947. Donaldson offered an initial apology explaining he said it to Anderson in the past in reference to one of Anderson’s interviews from the 2019 season when he called himself “today’s Jackie Robinson.” 

Anderson said he was disrespected by the comment even though it had happened before and that Donaldson was “trying to provoke me” with the comment. 

White Sox manager Tony La Russa called Donaldson’s comment last weekend “racist,” adding, “That’s as strong as it gets.” Anderson agreed with La Russa: Anderson said after a brief conversation in 2019 in which Donaldson called him “Jackie,” he told Donaldson: “We don’t have to talk again. I won’t speak to you, you don’t speak to me if that’s how you’re going to refer to me.”

Despite Donaldson’s explanation, Anderson’s teammates didn’t believe it, and Liam Hendriks went as far as to call it, “utter bulls—.”

Scott Miranda, a spokesman for the Jackie Robinson Foundation, said the family had no comment.


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