Major League Baseball has let Justin Turner off the hook following his headline-making decision after World Series Game 6 to break the league’s quarantine rules after he tested positive for COVID-19 during the game.
Turner now infamously came onto the field to celebrate and take pictures with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates after they won the game and the series. At the time, his choice was blasted by fans and pundits for putting both the Dodgers and Rays at risk, forcing both teams into getting additional tests and delaying their travel plans.
On Friday, however, MLB announced that it had finished its investigation into the incident and would not be punishing Turner. MLB’s investigation said that Turner was encouraged by teammates to join them on the field. Two Dodgers employees gave him “permission,” but MLB admitted it should have had its own security monitoring Turner in that moment.
In his statement, commissioner Rob Manfred said Turner expressed remorse for what he did and even applauded Turner for “making a commitment to set a positive example going forward.”
Here’s the key part of Manfred’s statement:
“Mr. Turner has publicly recognized that his conduct was wrong and has expressed remorse for that conduct. I have spoken to him personally and I know that he is extraordinarily upset by the incident. By all accounts, Justin is a leader in the clubhouse, a contributor to his community and a responsible person who was instrumental in the Dodgers diligently following the health protocols all season long.
“Staging a baseball season during the COVID-19 pandemic was an incredibly difficult undertaking and it required significant sacrifices and an enormous amount of work by players, club staff and the Commissioner’s Office. We all have made mistakes as we navigated these unprecedented challenges and have tried to learn from those mistakes so they are not repeated. With this in mind, I am closing this matter by applauding Justin for accepting responsibility, apologizing and making a commitment to set a positive example going forward.”
Turner apologizes, doesn’t make excuses
Along with MLB’s statement, Turner also released a statement of his own, apologizing to everyone affected. He told his side of the story and said he would not make excuses for his conduct.
With the book closed on this ordeal, attention turns to Turner as a free agent. While he’s certainly turned into a face-of-the-franchise type player for the Dodgers — he’s very popular with fans — there are questions about whether the Dodgers would bring him back for his age-36 season with his production slipping.
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