Stephen A. Smith Won’t Call Josh Donaldson Racist

It’s not often that Stephen A. Smith says something intelligent, so when he does, it’s worth writing about. 

A host of The First Take We discussed the comments that Josh Donaldson, third baseman of the New York Yankees, made on Saturday against Chicago White Sox. Donaldson and White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson had a heated exchange before the benches were cleared in the fifth innings. Both are extremely brash, high-energy players. White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandeal confronted Donaldson when he took the bat during the fifth inning. Tensions escalated and benches were cleared. Anderson was unable to get up close to Donaldson.

The tension arose because Donaldson had been calling Anderson (who is black) “Jackie” during the game, in reference to the first black baseball player in the MLB. The shortstop called the comments “disrespectful” and “unnecessary,” and White Sox manager Tony LaRussa called them “racist.”

But Smith doesn’t see eye to eye with that assessment, saying that Anderson shouldn’t feel slighted by the comments at all. Additionally, Donaldson said that it was part of a multi-year inside joke between the two that up until now had not bothered Anderson.


“I think that it is actually wrong for people to attach racism or ‘racist’ to Josh Donaldson today or for this incident,” Smith said. “He said he had said this to Tim Anderson on several occasions in the past, both of them had joked about it, and it was fine. So if that’s true, how come Tim Anderson hasn’t talked about that?”

Good point, Stephen A. Plus, it’s not like Donaldson came up with the nickname on his own. Anderson claimed that Anderson thought he could be next Jackie Robinson three years ago because he believed he had the ability to make the game more entertaining.

Related: ESPN Thinks MLB Lacks Diversity

“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson,” he said in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2019. “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.”

Furthermore, in April he views himself as a catalyst and source of inspiration for the next generation of black baseball players in a league where inclusivity is apparently an issue (despite the fact that nearly 40 percent of all players on Opening Day rosters in 2022 were players of color).

“I’m very aware of what comes with the things I do,” Anderson said. Anderson stated, “There are many kids watching. “I want to leave the right message and guide them in the right direction.

With all of this information providing some context for Donaldson’s remarks (regardless of if they were tasteful) and getting an insight into Anderson’s mind as to how he views himself in stature in today’s game, it looks like Anderson needs to do an ego and emotions check.

Stephen A. seems to be the most knowledgeable guy in sports media at present, which is quite remarkable considering his history of outrageous comments.

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