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Major League Baseball intends to investigate Los Angeles Dodgers player Justin Turner’s actions after what appeared to be blatant breaches of coronavirus protocols during Tuesday night’s World Series postgame celebration, league officials said Wednesday.
The investigation could result in a fine, a suspension or both.
After a month in MLB’s postseason bubble, Turner twice tested positive for the virus in what became the season’s final hours, forcing his removal from Tuesday night’s Game 6 after the seventh inning. At that time, Turner was directed to an area isolated from teammates, team and league officials and, eventually, family members who were allowed to gather on the field at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Turner, according to witnesses, chose to leave that area, against the orders of on-hand medical experts and league officials. Upon entering the field postgame, by then crowded with players, coaches, wives and children reveling in the Dodgers’ first championship in 32 years, Turner was told by league personnel to return to isolation. He refused. Several of his Dodgers teammates supported Turner’s presence, according to witnesses, forcing league security officials to choose whether to expose themselves to the virus or allow Turner to proceed.
Turner initially wore a mask, which he removed during an on-field team photograph. He sat between the World Series trophy and manager Dave Roberts. General manager Andrew Friedman was on the other side of the trophy.
MLB released a statement Wednesday that read, in part: “[F]ollowing 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.”
After the game, those in the Dodgers’ traveling party were tested, and Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays personnel were tested again Wednesday. As the teams are no longer subject to MLB bubble requirements, they will determine their own travel arrangements. Both teams had charters scheduled to return to their home cities Wednesday and would be subject to local regulations there.
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