Major League Baseball has concluded its investigation of CSUF alumnus and Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, after Turner celebrated on the field post-victory despite positive COVID-19 test results.
The results of the investigation were released on Friday following a press release by Commissioner Robert Manfred, which states that there will be no punishment for the Dodgers organization or Turner after the events of that night.
In the eighth inning, Turner was told he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed from the game. He and his wife, Kourtney, went into isolation together and watched the Dodgers get the final six outs of the game to clinch the World Series. The Dodgers were celebrating on the field, where Turner was seen hugging and taking pictures with his teammates and coaches without wearing a mask.
Fans and spectators voiced their concern and confusion as to why Turner was allowed to be around his teammates despite being in isolation just minutes before.
A series of statements said Turner rejoined the field after reportedly being persuaded by teammates, and a lack of resistance to return to the field by stadium staff.
Manfred said that MLB was partially responsible for the situation, stating that the MLB could have handled the situation better. He suggested that they could have had a security person monitor the Turners in isolation and had he and his wife transported out of the stadium even before the end of the game.
The Dodgers and Turner similarly released statements of their own, and took responsibility for the misconduct and apologized to the MLB and fans. Turner emphasized his regret for the situation in hindsight.
“Winning the World Series was my lifelong dream and the culmination of everything I had worked for in my career,” Turner said. “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.”
Since the World Series ended, five members of the Dodgers’ organization have tested positive for COVID-19, however it is unclear if it has anything to do with Turner’s actions after game six. Furthermore, no member of the Tampa Bay Rays has tested positive with the exemption of one player’s wife, to which the player has yet to be identified.
This incident was hardly the first of its kind this season. Multiple teams had players or staff members test positive throughout the year and even had canceled games at various points in the season. It was a year of adjustments for baseball, with more protocols and rules than ever before that required everyone to be more flexible compared to previous seasons.
After this ruling, Turner can focus on his recovery. Now that the season is over, he is officially a free agent. It will be a waiting game to see if he gets signed again by Los Angeles or if he starts fresh with a new team come spring next year.