Anderson, a leading Black voice in the MLB, said Donaldson called him Jackie Robinson during Saturday's (May 21) New York-Chicago faceoff, NBC News reports.
“He just made a, you know, disrespectful comment,” Anderson said after New York's win at Yankee stadium. “Basically, it was trying to call me Jackie Robinson. Like, ‘What’s up, Jackie?’”
“I don’t think it was called for," Anderson added about Donaldson's comment.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said the Yankee slugger's remark was “racist."
"That’s as strong as it gets,” La Russa said.
When asked how he took the "Jackie" comment, Anderson agreed with White Sox leadership saying, "Same, along that same line, yeah.”
Donaldson admitted to calling Anderson "Jackie," but said he had "joked around" with the White Sox shortstop in the past referring to the Black baseball pioneer.
In his defense, Donaldson also noted the 2019 Sports Illustrated interview where Anderson called himself a modern-day Robinson.
“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson ... because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game," Anderson said in the 2019 interview.
Robinson became the first African American to play in the MLB back in 1947. In Robinson's honor, every team retired his number 42 to highlight his social impact across the league and nationally, NBC News reports.
Donaldson said, “My meaning of that is not any term trying to be racist by any fact of the matter." He added, “Obviously, he deemed it disrespectful, and look, if he did, I apologize."
The Yankees player continued, "That’s not what I was trying to do by any manner and that’s what happened.”
This comes after the pair's May 13 run-in — the slugger scrapped Anderson after a hard tag, and in response, Anderson shoved Donaldson. Donaldson claims that he was "trying to defuse" lingering tension between the two during Saturday's game.