Our media apparatus remains completely unprepared to deal with the challenges it faces, out of fear that calling things what they are — telling the truth — will be too controversial and cause a backlash.
It’s cowardice. That’s all it is. That’s how we wind up with headlines like…
- Chicago Tribune: “Josh Donaldson’s comment to Tim Anderson leads to the benches clearing in the Chicago White Sox’s loss to the New York Yankees”
It must have been some kind of comment!
- New York Post: “White Sox accuse Yankees’ Josh Donaldson of racial ‘Jackie’ comment”
A racial comment? A lot of comments about Jackie Robinson — we can safely and correctly assume it’s about Jackie Robinson — are racial. Robinson was the first Black player in Major League Baseball. He’s a pivotal figure in the racial history of the United States. That’s a really weird thing to “accuse” someone of.
It’s also weird to accuse someone of doing something that they freely admit doing.
- ESPN: “Comment by New York Yankees’ Josh Donaldson to Chicago White Sox star Tim Anderson called ‘racist’”
Unfortunately, a double passive voice does not cancel out the chickenshit aspect of writing this headline in such a wishy-washy fashion.
- Barstool Sports: “Josh Donaldson is a scumbag”
Surprisingly the best so far, if lacking context, and absolutely written as such because it was the longtime irritant Donaldson, because he’s on the Yankees now, and because it happened against the White Sox, leading to the piece by White Sox Dave. Also, neatly devoid of race in the headline because Barstool, y’know.
- Outkick: “Tim Anderson, Tony La Russa say Josh Donaldson made a ‘racist comment’”
This? This is who actually got it right? And summarized it correctly?
Donaldson admitted that he called Anderson “Jackie,” during the first inning, in reference to a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated where Anderson described himself as feeling like “today’s Jackie Robinson.” Donaldson apologized for the comment and said he meant no disrespect. Anderson, who is Black, said he took offense to the comment.
Donaldson playing it off that he thought he and Anderson had an inside joke about it… wasn’t really an apology, but that’s not the point. It doesn’t matter how he meant it, it was racist — he took Anderson’s prideful connection to Robinson, and his place in the game as a Black superstar, and made it a punchline — and Anderson was rightfully pissed off about it.
The readership of the one outlet that got it right on Saturday probably doesn’t agree with that assessment, but at least they got the incident presented for what it was, instead of the way that everyone else danced around what happened in the Bronx.