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MLB Won't Punish Dodgers' Turner for Breaking Protocol

Brock Fritz

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner won’t be punished for ignoring COVID-19 protocols and celebrating with his team after winning the World Series last month.

Major League Baseball’s investigation into the third baseman concluded Friday, with the league announcing that it was in part to blame for Turner — who was removed prior to the eighth inning of the Oct. 27 clinching game due to a positive COVID-19 test — leaving his isolation to return to the field during the celebration and mingle with his teammates and Dodgers officials. According to USA Today, MLB’s investigation found that Turner wasn’t the only person to blame for the incident, and there’s context as to why he chose to leave his isolation room in the Texas Rangers’ ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

"First, Mr. Turner’s teammates actively encouraged him to leave the isolation room and return to the field for a photograph. Many teammates felt they had already been exposed to Mr. Turner and were prepared to tolerate the additional risk," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in Friday’s statement. “Second, Mr. Turner believes that he received permission from at least one Dodgers’ employee to return to the field to participate in a photograph. Although Mr. Turner’s belief may have been the product of a miscommunication, at least two Dodgers’ employees said nothing to Mr. Turner as he made his way to the field, which they admitted may have created the impression that his conduct was acceptable.

“Third, during the somewhat chaotic situation on the field, Mr. Turner was incorrectly told by an unidentified person that other players had tested positive, creating the impression in Mr. Turner’s mind that he was being singled out for isolation.”

Related content: MLB Investigating COVID-Positive Turner’s Behavior

Turner, who has served as a player representative on the MLB Players Association executive board, said he watched the conclusion of Game 6 with his wife on a television in the clubhouse, according to ESPN. He said he has since talked with teammates and staff members to try to resolve the situation.

“After waiting in the isolation room while my teammates celebrated on the field, I asked whether I was permitted to return to the field with my wife in order to take a photograph,” Turner said. “I assumed by that point that few people were left on the field. I was under the impression that team officials did not object to my returning to the field for a picture with my wife.

“However, what was intended to be a photo capturing the two of us turned into several greetings and photos where I briefly and unwisely removed my mask. In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife. I sincerely apologize to everyone on the field for failing to appreciate the risks of returning to the field.”

Related content: World Series Postgame Could Be Super Spreader Event

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