MLB criticizes Dodgers' Justin Turner for returning to field after positive COVID-19 test

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Major League Baseball is criticizing Justin Turner for his decision to return to the field after testing positive for COVID-19 during the Dodgers' World Series victory Tuesday night.

The league says Turner disregarded protocols and instructions he was given and his actions were "wrong" and put others at risk.

"While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner's decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk," the league said in a statement released Wednesday. "When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply."

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series for the first time in 32 years, the city of Los Angeles began to celebrate.



The league said the matter is under investigation. In addition, contact tracing is being conducted to determine anyone who was near Turner, and the Dodgers players and traveling personnel were tested for coronavirus later Tuesday night.

Both the Dodgers and Rays were tested again on Wednesday "and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities."

Here is the entire statement released Wednesday by MLB:

"Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night's game. Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers' victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner's decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.
"The Commissioner's Office is beginning a full investigation into this matter and will consult with the Players Association within the parameters of the joint 2020 Operations Manual.
"Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers' traveling party. Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities."


The Dodgers won their first World Series title in 32 years after beating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday.

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Fans in Culver City watching the Dodgers win the World Series were ecstatic after the end of Game 6.



The third baseman was removed during the seventh inning of Game 6.

He had been tested on Monday and the result came back Tuesday around the second inning as inconclusive. The league then had the lab expedite a test that was taken Tuesday morning and the result came back during the game as positive. Turner was immediately removed from the game and told to isolate. Television cameras captured him appearing upset as he was asked to leave the dugout.

According to Fox Sports, league officials, league security personnel and some Dodgers officials asked Turner to remain in isolation following the victory.

But Turner was reportedly adamant about wanting to join his teammates and apparently had the support of some team officials to return to the field for a picture and then leave.

In a tweet he said he felt fine and was not experiencing symptoms.

"Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can't believe I couldn't be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA #WorldSeriesChamps," Turner tweeted.



Still, it was a shocking image to see someone who just tested positive for COVID-19 on the field, taking his mask off, kissing his wife and then appearing next to manager Dave Roberts, a cancer survivor, for a team picture without his mask on.

Now, many around the country are upset by Turner's actions and confused by the whole situation, since the Dodgers had been in a bubble in Texas for three weeks - only allowed to be at the stadium and their hotel.

Major League Baseball had gone close to two months without a positive test before Turner's result.

After the game, Dodger teammates defended Turner's decision to return, citing his hard work and key role in helping the team throughout the regular season and postseason.

"That man more than anybody deserves to take a picture with that trophy, celebrate with us, have his family around and enjoy the moment," Corey Seager said.

Mookie Betts, when asked about Turner returning to the field to join the Dodgers for a team picture, defended his teammate.

"He's part of the team," Betts said. "Forget all that, he's part of the team. We're not excluding him from anything."

A lot of questions are also being asked about what would have happened if the Dodgers lost Game 6 and had to play a Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Rays without Turner in the lineup.
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