MLB

Dodgers' Turner avoids punishment for celebrating World Series with COVID-19

By Sports Desk November 06, 2020

Los Angeles Dodgers star Justin Turner will not face punishment for leaving isolation to celebrate his team's World Series victory last month, despite testing positive for coronavirus.

The Dodgers were on the verge of winning the MLB World Series in Game 6 when third baseman Turner was removed from the game in the eighth inning due to the team receiving word that he had returned a positive COVID-19 test in October.

Turner was placed in a room with his wife Kourtney, where the couple watched Los Angeles clinch a 3-1 win and 4-2 series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays – the Dodgers' first World Series title since 1988.

During the celebration, Turner was seen on the field in close contact with team-mates, sometimes with his mask removed.

The MLB announced the end of its investigation into Turner's conduct on Friday, with commissioner Rob Manfred saying no further action would be taken.

"We all have made mistakes as we navigated these unprecedented challenges and have tried to learn from those mistakes so they are not repeated," Manfred said in a statement.

"With this in mind, I am closing this matter by applauding Justin for accepting responsibility, apologising and making a commitment to set a positive example going forward."

Despite Turner's behaviour – which he has since admitted was wrong and regrettable – MLB did take some responsibility and acknowledge other mitigating factors.

"Our investigation revealed additional relevant information that, while not exonerating Mr. Turner from responsibility for his conduct, helps put into context why he chose to leave the isolation room and return to the field," Manfred said.

Two Dodgers employees were stationed outside Turner's isolation room. When the 2017 All-Star left to return to the field to celebrate, he mistook the employees' inaction for permission.

Manfred conceded in his statement that a league employee should have been given explicit instructions to keep Turner in isolation or take him directly to the team hotel.

Many of Turner's team-mates thought they had already been exposed enough to him in the previous hours and days that isolation was pointless. Turner was also told by an unidentified person that some of his team-mates had also received positive COVID-19 tests, leading him to believe he was being singled out.

Due to this confusion – and Turner's contrition after the fact – Manfred decided not to punish the 12-year veteran.

"Mr. Turner has publicly recognised that his conduct was wrong and has expressed remorse for that conduct," Manfred said. "I have spoken to him personally and I know that he is extraordinarily upset by the incident.

"By all accounts, Justin is a leader in the clubhouse, a contributor to his community and a responsible person who was instrumental in the Dodgers diligently following the health protocols all season long."

Turner, a member of both Dodgers' teams that lost in the World Series in 2017 and 2018, was a candidate for World Series MVP, ultimately won by Corey Seager.

The 2017 National League Championship Series (NLCS) hit .320 with two home runs and four doubles in the World Series and is the franchise's career postseason leader in hits, runs, doubles, home runs and RBI.

"In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife," Turner said. "I sincerely apologise to everyone on the field for failing to appreciate the risks of returning to the field.

"I have spoken with almost every team-mate, coach, and staff member, and my intentions were never to make anyone uncomfortable or put anyone at further risk."

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