‘Utter bull(bleep)’: Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks rejects Josh Donaldson’s explanation for his ‘Jackie’ comment
Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks wasn’t buying Josh Donaldson’s explanation for the New York Yankees third baseman’s comments to Tim Anderson during Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium.
“Basically tried to call me Jackie Robinson: ‘What’s up, Jackie?’” Anderson said after the Sox’s 7-5 loss, describing what led to a discussion with Donaldson after the third inning. “He made the comment and it was disrespectful and I don’t think it was called for. It was unnecessary.”
The benches cleared before Donaldson’s at-bat in the fifth inning.
Donaldson admitted after the game, “I called him Jackie,” later adding: “I thought that was a joke between him and I because we have talked about it before. … He’s called himself Jackie Robinson. That’s why I thought it was funny between us.”
That explanation did not sit well with Hendriks.
“Usually you have inside jokes with people you get along with, not people that don’t get along at all,” Hendriks said Sunday. “So that statement right there was complete bull(bleep).
“My feelings toward the individual in question are pretty well-documented in the fact that we don’t get along. The fact I have now spoken to four separate clubhouses he’s been in and as a whole, none of them get along. So trying to whip out that narrative is complete and utter bull(bleep).”
Donaldson’s “Jackie” reference dates to a 2019 Sports Illustrated article that came out soon after Anderson’s bat flip against the Kansas City Royals and subsequent plunking made news.
The article discussed a “have-fun barrier.”
“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson,” Anderson said in the article. “That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game.”
The article pointed out in the next sentence Anderson’s “point is more nuanced than it might sound.”
Donaldson said Saturday: “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.”
He later added: “Just trying to defuse it, make light like, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to start any brawls or anything like that.’ Obviously he deemed that it was disrespectful and if he did, I apologize. That’s not what I was trying to do by any manner.”
Hendriks said Donaldson’s comments during the game were “just completely unacceptable,”
“And then trying to whip it out like an inside joke is horse(bleep),” Hendriks said. “They don’t have those sorts of things going on. That’s like getting into an argument, like having an inside joke with a guy you’re nemeses with, per se.
“That ain’t it. That’s not how it went down in this clubhouse and I don’t understand how he ever thought about it like that. It’s just straight delusional.”
Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal exchanged words with Donaldson before the fifth-inning at-bat, and both dugouts and bullpens emptied.
“I’m really happy with (Grandal’s) decision to confront him at the plate,” Hendriks said. “That shows how strong this clubhouse is. That shows the brotherhood in this clubhouse that we have going on. We’re going to go to bat for everyone in this clubhouse, no matter who they are, no matter what’s going on. We’re going to take care of them.
“(Sox manager) Tony (La Russa) wears the shirt that says ‘Family’ every single day, and that’s what it is, a family. We take care of our own, and if something happens that we don’t think is right, we’re going to speak up.”
La Russa said Sunday he was “curious to see what the Yankee organization says.”
“It’s not really important what I say here,” La Russa said. “(Yankees manager) Aaron (Boone), he’s between a rock and a hard place there. I know him, I know his family and I know he doesn’t approve.
“But I’m really waiting to hear what the Yankees say. I know what they represent, right? ‘God Bless America’ (in the) seventh inning. So I’m waiting to hear what they say.”
Boone told reporters he talked to Donaldson after Saturday’s game and believed his player’s explanation — but also thought Donaldson shouldn’t have made the comment.
“With what’s going on between the two players and between the two teams over the last week or two, I certainly understand how that would be sensitive and understand the reaction,” Boone said. “I also understand Josh has been very forthcoming with the history of it and the context of it. So I don’t believe there was any malicious intent in that regard.
“But this is just my opinion — (that’s) somewhere he should not be going.”
Major League Baseball is looking into the incident, according to reports.
“Whenever they reach a conclusion, I’m sure you’ll hear it,” La Russa said. “I know you’re looking at MLB. That’s why I said I’m anxious to know what the Yankees are saying because MLB has been crystal clear for years on how they feel about something like that.
“I hope (the Yankees) would echo Major League Baseball, where there’s no situation where that’ll be tolerated. I’ve respected the Yankees organization for a long time, so I’m just curious.”