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MLB Wraps Investigation of Celebrant With COVID

Justin Turner won't face punishment for joining teammates after testing positive
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 6, 2020 5:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Justin Turner will not be disciplined by Major League Baseball for coming onto the field last week to celebrate the World Series title with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates after testing positive for COVID-19. The third baseman was removed after seven innings of Game 6 against Tampa Bay on Oct. 27 after MLB informed the Dodgers of the test result, which was received during the sixth inning. He returned to the field after Los Angeles won 3-1 to earn the title, took off his mask, and posed for a photo with teammates. "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," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday, the AP reports. "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."

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Manfred said Turner thought he had permission from the Dodgers to return to the field. At least two team employees didn't say anything to Turner when he headed out, Manfred said, which "may have created the impression that his conduct was acceptable." Someone told Turner that he wasn't the only player who tested positive, the commissioner said, making him think he was being treated unfairly. MLB could've handled it better, Manfred said; a security guard should have been assigned to make sure Turner remained isolated. In ending the investigation, the commissioner praised the player for apologizing for his actions, and the team said that during the season, Turner was "instrumental in allowing the Dodgers to overcome the adversity created by the pandemic." In his statement, Turner said he thought there would only be a few people on the field when he went back and planned to just have a quick photo with his wife, Kourtney, taken. "In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife," he said. Turner became a free agent when the season ended. (Baseball earlier had said that Turner "emphatically refused to comply" with security.)


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