LOS ANGELES (KTLA) – Justin Turner, the Dodgers’ star third baseman, will not face any punishment for going back on to the field to celebrate the team’s World Series championship after he received a positive test result for the coronavirus during the title-clinching game.
Major League Baseball had launched the investigation on Oct. 28, a day after the Boys in Blue beat the Tampa Bay Rays to win their first championship in 32 years.
Turner was removed from Game 6 and directed to isolate after a coronavirus test he had taken earlier in the day came back positive. But when the game ended, Turner instead joined his teammates to celebrate the victory.
The 35-year-old has since expressed remorse for his actions, and the league has ultimately decided to close the investigation without suspending or fining him, according to an MLB statement.
“As is often the case, 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,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in a statement. “I am closing this matter by applauding Justin for accepting responsibility, apologizing and making a commitment to set a positive example going forward. ”
Turner’s teammates had “actively encouraged” him to return to the field for the team photograph, with many expressing that they were “prepared to tolerate the additional risk” since they’d already been exposed to him, according to the commissioner’s statement.
Turner also believed he had received permission from at least one team employee to participate in the photo — something that may have been the result of miscommunication, Manfred said.
He was also incorrectly told by someone that other players had tested positive for the virus, which created “the impression in Mr. Turner’s mind that he was being singled out for isolation.”
Manfred also admitted in the statement that the league could have handled the situation better, saying that — in hindsight — Turner should have been monitored by security during isolation and taken back to the hotel sooner.
Prior to his positive test, no MLB players had tested positive for the coronavirus for more than 50 days. Neither the Dodgers nor the Rays have reported a positive coronavirus test since the World Series concluded.